Local council elections: Where does the buck stop?

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So we still can’t have local council elections – due to a “technicality”. What exactly is holding back the restoration of the third vote?

Reading the Malaysian Insider report below, I am left confused. Exactly what or who is holding back local council elections?

The law has been passed and is due to be enforced – but that is not enough for the Election Commission, so it passes the buck. It wants the enforcement date gazetted.

It reminds me of a party game, where the package is passed from one person to another until the music stops – except in this case there is no music at all, only the clamour for local elections.

What will it take to restore local elections to the people as soon as possible? Who is the mysterious person (or parties) holding it back?

See what you make of the report below:

Penang forced to hold off on third vote due to technicality

By Opalyn Mok

January 04, 2013

Lim said the matter was now in the hands of the state legal advisor. — File pic

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 4 ― Penang will delay the implementation of its Local Government Elections Enactment after the Elections Commission (EC) asked for the enforcement date to be gazetted.

The state government earlier wrote to the EC informing it that the law will be enforced on January 31, and requested that the EC conduct the local elections within 180 days of the enforcement date.

Local government and traffic management executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said the EC replied by requesting the state government gazette the enforcement date in order for it to proceed.

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Prior to this, Penang had written to the EC in August, after the Act was gazetted, for the local elections to be held, during which the EC had requested that the state set an enforcement date.

“This was brought up at the state exco meeting but the state legal advisor was not present at that time to provide legal recourse,” he said in a press conference after the re-appointment ceremony of Penang Island Municipal Councillors.

Chow said this meant the announced enforcement date of the Act, January 31, will have to be dropped for another, as it may take time to settle the issue of gazetting the enforcement date.

“This is now in the legal advisor’s hands and we will leave it to her to handle it; there’s nothing we can do about it now,” said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was also present.

The Pakatan Rakyat state government has been trying to return to the public the power to choose their local councillors since it took office in 2008.

On August 11, 2009, the state assembly approved a motion to request the federal government to revive local government elections and had sought advice from lawyers on the rights and powers of the state administration to hold local elections.

On March 4, 2010, Lim wrote to the EC requesting it conduct the local elections as provided in the Federal Constitution, but the EC rejected the state’s request.

Last year, the state government finally passed the Penang Local Government Elections Enactment in order to use the law to compel the EC to hold the local elections.

READ MORE:  Restore local elections

Chow had earlier said the state government could not conduct the local elections and that only the EC will be able to conduct it.

Currently, all local government councillors are appointed under the Local Government Act 1976.

Local council elections were abolished in 1964.

via Main – Malaysia – Penang forced to hold off on third vote due to technicality @ Fri Jan 04 2013.

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Kevin
Kevin
8 Jan 2013 8.46am

I suspect its more than just the EC who doesn’t want local council elections. How can you say after tabling the law, passing and then gazetting it, you didn’t know you were supposed to set an enforcement date? What kind of stupidity is that. It is ok if one person doesn’t know, but the entire EXCO? I mean there are so many lawyers in Penang PR, are they all sleeping? So you simply wait for the next meeting where you hope the legal advisor will be present. How convenient right? After that, wait for another few months before the EC… Read more »

tan tanjong bungah
tan tanjong bungah
6 Jan 2013 7.11pm

Hi everyone,

To expedite matters, the State Exco at its next weekly meeting should request that the State Legal Advisor be present. The Exco Meeting should then decide on the earliest enforcement date possible and resolve that the State Legal Advisor takes immediate action to gazette this earliest enforcement date!

With this in place, there is no more excuse for the EC not to proceed accordingly to return the third vote to Penangites soonest possible!

en passant
en passant
6 Jan 2013 4.44pm

Sack the State Legal Advisor It’s the people’s duly representatives who make laws! She is only a public servant and her actions now are tantamount to indiscipline and a breach of professional ethics and duty.

tunglang
6 Jan 2013 4.37pm

La la li la tam pom
Ah pek beh ah pom
Ah pom tim lok hai
Ah pek chiak kau sai
In this child’s game of lots of free time, who cares it will never end.
Till the cane comes out from the back door. “Beh Liao ah?”