Who You Gonna Call? MPs, ADUNs, and Local Councillors in Malaysia

Title: Who You Gonna Call? MPs, ADUNs, and Local Councillors
Writer: Deborah Augustin
Artist: Preethi Nair
Editor: Charis Loke
In Malaysia, there are three levels of elected and appointed government representatives: Members of Parliament (MPs) at the Federal level, State Assemblypersons (ADUNs) at the state level, and local councillors. Currently, Malaysians vote for their Members of Parliament and ADUNs, while local councillors are appointed by state governments.
So who do you call when your neighbourhood park is run down? Does calling your Member of Parliament make your complaint more powerful?
Nope! In fact, it might take longer to solve your problem. Members of Parliament are in charge of creating and discussing laws and the national budget in the Malaysian Parliament. For example, in 2019, the Malaysian Parliament voted to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

Example: Darell Leiking - MP, Sabah/Penampang. Passionate about reinstating the terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Wants to create policies that are friendly to tech companies and startups. He can't directly help with local council issues like rubbish collection & clogged drains.
It might be better to approach your MP if you have ideas for a change in national policy like amending laws that affect the minimum wage. Your MP might forward your complaint about a local park to the ADUN or local councillor in your area.
ADUNs and local councillors often work closely together. ADUNs create laws in their respective state assemblies. In 2018, the Penang State Legislative Assembly made history when it decided to limit the tenure of its chief minister to two terms. ADUNs also discuss issues like land management, natural resources, state budgets and local councils.

Example: Michelle Ng Mei Sze - ADUN, Subang Jaya. Passionate about improving quality of life in Subang Jaya. Wants to increase public transportation options in her constituency. She can vote for laws in the Selangor State Assembly but not the Malaysian Parliament.
So even if your complaint about your neighbourhood park lands on your ADUN’s desk, it still has one more level to go before it reaches the right person: your local councillor. Each state has multiple local councils depending on its size. For example, Selangor has 12 local councils and Johor has 16. They are in charge of issues like rubbish collection, drains, lighting and enforcing building and planning regulations. Your local councillors can kickstart repairs and upgrades for a park in your neighbourhood.

Example: Nor Afni binti Md Yusuff - Former Local Councillor, Pulau Pinang.
Passionate about empowering young girls & increasing women’s participation in local politics. Wants to increase jogging and cycling paths so community members can relax & exercise together.  She cannot vote on laws in the state Assembly but can solve local council issues.
What can you do?
If you are a registered voter, you can check who your Member of Parliament and ADUN are by keying your IC number into the Elections’ Commission website: https://pengundi.spr.gov.my/. 
Note down their office contact information and start following them on social media for updates on what they’re doing to represent you. Staying informed is the first step to taking action!


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This comic was funded by a Democracy Discourse Series grant.

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