Decentralisation or Recentralisation? Trends in local government in Malaysia
Local government in Malaysia occupies the third and lowest level after federal and state governments. Under the Malaysian federal constitution (paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Ninth Schedule), local government is the responsibility of the states, but the federal government also exercises considerable power and influence over local government, especially in peninsular Malaysia. The dynamic of the Malaysian federal system is such that it has shifted the balance of power to the centre.
Local government accounts for only 1% of GDP. There are 144 local authorities divided into cities (major administrative and commercial centres), municipalities (other urban areas), and districts (chiefly rural areas). Executive powers rest with the Mayor (cities) or President, supported and/or overseen by a system of committees. Currently, local councils in Malaysia are not elected: councillors are appointed by the state government for 3-year terms (with the option of re-appointment) and in most cases come from the ruling coalition.
Garzia-Jansen, B (2002) Town Planning Legislation and Land Use in Malaysia: A Case Study of Petaling Jaya, PhD Dissertation (unpublished) University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Gaventa, J (2004) 'Towards participatory governance: assessing the transformative possibilities', in Hickey, Samuel; Giles, Mohan (eds.) Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation, Zed Books, London/New York, pp. 25-41.
Kaur, Hardev (2005) Community Participation in Local Government Decision Making â What Does It Mean? Paper presented at Faculty Seminar (unpublished), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Kuppusamy Singaravelloo (2006) 'The Composite Performance Index for Local Authorities in Peninsular Malaysia: A Measurement', in Proceedings of the National Conference on Public Management 2006, December, Universiti Utara Malaysia.
Kuppusamy Singaravelloo (2001) 'Fostering Public-Private Partnership in a Win-Win Situation: The Experience of a Malaysian Local Government', in Moutanheiro, L., Spiering, M. (eds.), Public and Private Sector Partnerships: The Enterprise Governance, Sheffield Hallam University Press.
Malaysia, Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Malaysia (2006) Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006-2010, Government Printers, Kuala Lumpur.
Ministry of Finance (2006) A Study on Improving Local Government Delivery System in Malaysia (confidential and unpublished).
Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Economic Planning Unit (2006) Efficiency, Role and Functions of Local Authorities in National Development Draft Final Report (confidential and unpublished).
Ministry of Housing and Local Government (2002) Local Agenda 21.
Minogue, M (1998) 'Changing the State: Concepts and Practice in the Reform of the Public Sector', in Minogue, M, Polidana, C, Hulme, D (eds.) Beyond the New Public Management, Edward Elgar Publications, United Kingdom.
Morrison W (1994) Spatial Planning Procedures in Malaysia, Final Draft prepared for the Meeting of the Steering Committee for the National Spatial Planning Project, Kuala Lumpur.
National Institute of Public Administration (2004) INTAN Report (confidential and unpublished).
Noor Hazilah bt. Abd. Manaf (2003) Quality Management in the Public Sector: An Empirical Survey of the Ministry of Health Hospitals in Peninsular Malaysia, PhD Dissertation (unpublished), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Norris, M.W. (1980) Local Government in Peninsular Malaysia, Gower, London.
Phang Siew Nooi (2006) Local Government in a Transforming Society: Formal Harmony, Informal Discord, Monograph, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
Phang, Siew Nooi and Beh, Loo See (2006) 'Pursuing Public-Private Partnerships and Moving Beyond: Malaysia's Experience with Malaysian Airline System (MAS)' in TINJAUN: Policy and Management Review, (2004-05), No. 6. pp. 44-61.
Phang, Siew Nooi and Ahmad Abdullah Sanusi (2001) 'Role of Universities in Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Urban Environment', in Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1 and 2, pp. 65-71.
Phang, Siew Nooi (1997) Financing Local Government in Malaysia, University of Malaya Press, Kuala Lumpur.
Sheridan L. A. & Groves H. E. (1987) The Constitution of Malaysia, 4th ed., Malaysian Law Journal, Singapore.
The New Straits Times (2000) August 15, September 6, Kuala Lumpur.
The Sun (2007) March 5, Kuala Lumpur.
Share this article:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.