Federal Territory Residents are Third-Class Citizens

Press Conference, KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, 1 February 2008

BERSIH Calls for Local Elections in FT and Nationwide

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) urges the Federal Government to reintroduce local elections nationwide, particularly for the Federal Territories whose residents have no say or right in electing their state administration.
BERSIH feels that there is no reason to celebrate Federal Territory Day, which is today, as the 700,000 voters (approximately 7% of the national electorate) living in the three Federal Territories are politically third-class citizens. These voters lost their third vote in 1965 when local elections were suspended. They also lost their second vote when Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya were made Federal Territories in 1974, 1984 and 2001 respectively.
Arguably the first decolonization movement of modern nation states, the American Revolution two centuries ago established the principle of “no taxation without representation”.
Only colonies pay tax and have unelected governors lording over them. Is this not the portrait of the 2 million Malaysians who pay assessment fees and other taxes/duties to the unelected Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Labuan Corporation and Putrajaya Corporation?
In a democracy, the right to be represented exists simultaneously with the duty to pay tax. First-class citizens must have voting rights at all levels: federal, state and local. By terminating local elections in 1965, the Alliance government turned all Malaysians into second-class citizens.
With the establishment of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya as Federal Territories, the residents were but third-class citizens in revenue-generating fiefdoms. Unchecked by elections, the Little Napoleons in these Federal Territories have caused misery to taxpayers by incurring huge losses through corruption, abuse of power and sheer incompetence.
BERSIH calls upon the Federal Government to reintroduce local elections in not only the Federal Territories, but nationwide, so that Malaysians have a good reason to celebrate Federal Territory Day.