Friday, July 18, 2008

Orang asli rep and disabled man among Perak's 338 councillors - The Star

IPOH: Jul 18, 2008

Sudi Uda, a 38-year-old community leader has made history by becoming the first orang asli to serve as a local councillor in Perak.

He was among the 338 local councillors sworn in on Friday.

Sudi is among the representatives who would serve the Kuala Kangsar municipal council.

It would be a far cry from his usual routine of caring for his family and doing odd jobs at his village of Kampung Landap in Jalong Tinggi, Sungai Siput.

“I decided to apply to be a councillor because I wanted to help the community.

"If I had rejected this opportunity, who else will speak for the orang asli?” he asked reporters.

Accounts executive Kennedy Hong Chuan Lee, who became wheelchair bound at the age of 12 after a spinal injury, said he wanted to be a voice for the disabled in Perak.

Hong, who will serve as a councillor with the Teluk Intan municipal council, said one of his first aims would be to make the district disabled-friendly.

He cited as examples the Teluk Intan Hospital that had ramps that were too steep, and the local stadium with “five-star toilets” but with cubicle doors he could not close because the stall was too narrow.

The youngest councillor was 27-year-old Chuah Soo Hooi, who will also serve in the Kuala Kangsar council.

Earlier, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said that with the new appointments, the state was bidding “goodbye” to decades of discrimination and corruption in the councils.

“I’m telling you right now that any element of corruption, abuse of power, or discrimination based on race, religion, colour, creed and culture will never be tolerated in this government,” he told the councillors.

Nizar reminded them that their appointments were an honour and warned them not to emulate previous councillors who existed only to pocket their monthly allowances.

Describing the new councillors as the cream of the crop of qualified applicants, Nizar also thanked past councillors for doing their “level best” for the people.

State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said the 338 councillors included six PhD holders, two associate professors and eight Datuks.

“There are also 13 doctors, one of whom graduated from Harvard, 11 lawyers, 18 engineers and 16 architects,” he said.

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