Voters should demand that all political parties and election candidates should state their stand on the restoration of local council elections.
The Penang government has just gazetted the Local Government Elections (Penang Island and Province Wellesley) Enactment 2012, which came into effect on 5 July. This is a welcome move as the enactment allows for the restoration of local council elections, which were abolished in the 1960s.
Of course, the BN politicians are saying that the state law conflicts with section 15 of the federal level Local Government Act (LGA) 1976. This section states that laws on local government elections will cease to have effect.
But the Penang government had gazetted a notification in February exempting local authorities from section 15.
If BN politicians at the federal level really have the interests of the people at heart, they need to amend the federal laws to unambiguously restore local democracy in the country – instead of standing in the way of the people’s aspirations. As it stands, they may say they “choose Malaysia” – but do they choose the people of Malaysia and their aspirations for local democracy?