Friday, July 8, 2011

It's not that simple!

I was working in a local authority, a Municipal Council in fact. One of the Council's duties is to look after public amenities like stadiums and public halls. Although I was not directly involved in hiring out or taking care of the amenities I know a little bit about them.

The department in charge of the bookings is headed by the Council's Secretary. They used to keep a big diary book not only for the current year, but for the coming year as well. How they managed to obtain the diary for the coming year I never know. But perhaps now they do not need a real diary. One programmed in the computer is good enough.

There are procedures in booking the amenities. First of all forms have to be filled. The proposed use had to be explained in detail. I remember an incident a few years ago where an individual booked the town hall for a social gathering. Eventually it turned out to be a political campaign. Before the occasion flags of the particular political party were seen hanging on lampposts around town and in the town hall's vicinity. My boss had a tough time explaining things to his superiors. From that experience the Council was very careful in vetting applications.

Of course unregistered bodies are not allowed to rent the amenities. Even registered bodies cannot rent the halls just like that. Approval from other departments had to be sought to their bookings being approved. For example somebody planning to  hold a rock concert had to obtain an entertainment licence from the Council's licencing department. To obtain the entertainment licence the applicant had to get clearance from the police. For their part the police wants the particulars of every committee member be shown on the entertainment licence application form.

For rock concerts and political gatherings the applicants have to provide security. In this case the applications  have to write down the name of the security forms they wish to hire.

The public amenities like stadiums and halls are not available the whole year around. There are occassions when bookings are frozen. Examples are the Chinese New Year, DYMM Yang Di Pertuan Besar's Birthday, DYMM Yang Di Pertuan Agong's Birthday and the two Hari Rayas. The reason being the state or federal governments may want to use the amenities at short notice. So the public can as well forgo the idea of having their children's wedding function at our town hall and the like during those periods.

Those are fixed functions. What about unfixed functions, the General Elections for example. We never know when the next General Elections will be held. We all know that during the General Elections the town halls and stadiums will be used by the federal and state leaders to officiate functions which are in fact campaigning in camouflage. When this happens confirmed bookings for the amenities have to be revoked. The council have only to refund any payment they have received and they wash their hands. After all there is a clause in the rental agreement which says the council can revoke any confirmed bookings due to unforeseen circumstances.

There are applications made more than one year in advance, thus the presence of the two diary books. So to obtain a stadium by only giving a few days notice is extraordinary.

1 comment:

Abu Nu'man said...

So to obtain a stadium by only giving a few days notice is extraordinary ---> except if you are the ruling party. Otherwise, owner of the premise will be the 'extraordinary' hahaha