Restore local elections

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Voters casting their ballots enthusiastically at the Penang Forum 3 experimental local council poll in 2010

No racial trouble broke out as a result of local council elections in Penang in the 1950s and 1960s (at least, not that I am aware of) until they were suspended in 1965. So why can’t they be reintroduced in Penang and the rest of Malaysia? Penang Forum has just released a media statement:

Like many Malaysians, Penang Forum believes Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s opposition to the idea of restoring local elections in Malaysia based on racial concerns is misplaced and not factually substantiated.

Malaysia has held local, state and federal elections without any outbreak of racial violence except for the 1969 general election, which was not local elections. Furthermore, as many have pointed out, the ethnic demography in cities has changed substantially such that in major cities, such as Kuala Lumpur, Malays form the majority of the population.

We welcome Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s statement that Penang is ready for local elections. We urge the chief minister to take the next concrete steps in that direction. For instance, aside from being the Penang State Assembly member for Padang Kota, he is also the member of Parliament for Tanjong, an institution with powers to amend and enact federal legislation.

We urge him to submit a private member’s motion/bill as a backbencher – with the support of the finance minister, who is equally sympathetic to the idea of reviving local elections – in Parliament to debate the merits of amending the Local Government Act 1976 to facilitate local elections. We also appeal to all Pakatan Harapan MPs to throw their unequivocal support if such a motion is introduced in Parliament.

READ MORE:  Book launch: Local Democracy Denied?

The Penang state government had unilaterally initiated a Local Government Elections Enactment in 2012. Although it was invalidated by the Federal Court on the excuse that it contravened Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976, civil society had urged the Penang state government to hold a mock local election, which it regrettably did not do.

If Parliament fails to amend the law to allow for local elections, Penang could still initiate such a mock election. The state can also explore alternative models of election such as a proportional representational system that can better take into account the concerns of minorities that are not addressed under the presently practised first-pass-the-post system. This will increase the likelihood for representatives of minority groups, special interest groups and women to be elected.

It could then replace the appointment of local councillors with those elected by ratepayers in the mock election. This people-oriented selection process would effectively allow the state government to circumvent the Local Government Act and enhance the spirit of local democracy in Penang. Penang could lead the nation and showcase this as a pilot project that local elections are viable and desirable in this country.

Therefore, we urge the chief minister to take a more active role in championing the restoration of local elections on behalf of all Penang and Malaysian people.

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Norman
Norman
23 Dec 2018 5.32pm

KL residents dine in on takeaway to avoid 10% service fees

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/12/23/kl-residents-dine-in-on-takeaway-to-avoid-service-fees/#CS0glrRT1KxeddwX.99

A smart way to save money! Can try in Penang?

glissantia
glissantia
23 Dec 2018 3.16pm

Once again, the Malays must realise that fascism (capitalism + corruption) is ripping them off too instead of assisting them – in greater numbers. Just look at (a) the non-delivery, misappropriation and deterioration of low-cost flats despite many 10s of billions of RM allocated (b) traffic gridlock and lack of public transport (c) neglect of rural people compared to the main urban centres (d) the super-bureaucracy and corruption in KL (e) expanding divide-and-rule through culture and religion, including apartheid and seditious provocation. The historical context in the country is similar to the global background. As soon as the threat of… Read more »

V Ramesh
V Ramesh
23 Dec 2018 11.36am

Nadia Lemak Christmas on TV2 on Christmas Eve:
https://www.utusanborneo.com.my/2018/12/20/konsert-nasi-lemak-christmas-antara-terbaik-di-rtm-raikan-krismas-ini

Anil’s favourite singer Dasha Logan is one of the artists for the concert.

tunglang
tunglang
22 Dec 2018 4.39pm

Isn’t it high time to just abandon the race-based myopia in this age of Malaysia Baru? If there is no trust in anyone elected in local election b’cos of his/her skin colour, what’s the use of being called a Malaysian, who by law is required to pay any tax for the running of this Tanah Air Cinta Ku for the benefit of EVERYONE? Why not institute laws preventing an elected representative from favouring any vested interest (of corporate nature or race group) that does not fulfil wider socio-economic objectives. This will definitely allay imaginary fears esp. in ultra-Malays, who till… Read more »

Norman
Norman
22 Dec 2018 7.22pm
Reply to  tunglang

The ‘concept’ of Malaysia Baru is scaring the conservative Malays (afraid of anything liberal), just like how they have reacted to ICERD for fear of losing their rights/entitlement/culture.

Shriek
Shriek
23 Dec 2018 12.42am
Reply to  tunglang

local council by all means. Tun lang must standing for the election and we must vote him to see if he is a doer or blowing water. Otherwise a empty vessel.

tunglang
tunglang
23 Dec 2018 10.46am
Reply to  Shriek

Opportunist Troll Spinner! BTW, Sunday so free ah?

Shriek
Shriek
23 Dec 2018 8.39pm
Reply to  tunglang

Dude, Sunday is the SUN day or are you driving coolies?
You are busy on Sundays and goyang Kakis on weekdays?

Cygnus Knight
Cygnus Knight
24 Dec 2018 12.38pm
Reply to  tunglang

‘Brutal contest’ between liberals, nationalists in post-GE14 Malaysia

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/88383

Norman
Norman
22 Dec 2018 4.04pm

Can Anil provide a simple explanation what local election is?

Norman
Norman
22 Dec 2018 7.19pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

What is the role of a councillor?
Is this not another burden to taxpayers when the elected state YB should do the job? Duplicated functions.

V Ramesh
V Ramesh
23 Dec 2018 11.30am
Reply to  Norman

True. I also need to understand how their duties differ to benefit the people with their services.

Shriek
Shriek
23 Dec 2018 8.46pm
Reply to  V Ramesh

Duties are different of course. Otherwise you expect them to work like pm?
First local council is the third or local gomen after federal and state. They care for local roads, longkangs and the wishes of the residents. Eg local council determines local library, swimming pool or the residents want tree top houses.

Wei
Wei
23 Dec 2018 1.06pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Lim mah hui would not have become councillor if there were local election..hehe

Wei
Wei
22 Dec 2018 11.47am

as if not enough fighting already…hehe

Black Hawk
22 Dec 2018 9.27am

Local election is good but it depends on each area it was held and the races composition in that particu… https://t.co/jHkf2xgobA