Local Council Elections – Penang leads by asking EC to conduct elections..

Charles Hector
Finally, the Pakatan Rakyat State Government of Penang has repented, and have taken the first step to fulfill its pre-2008 General Election promise by having local council elections.
During the campaigning for the March 8 2008 General Elections, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam Malaysia (PAS), now forming the Pakatan Rayat coalition, had individually and collectively promised local council elections in various campaign documents. They were as follows:
* PKR’s Manifesto 2008 promised in item 9 of its vision for a constitutional state, to “reinstate with immediate effect local elections for municipal and local councils to create greater accountability at every level of government.”
* DAP, both through its campaign on “The Third Vote: Restore Local Government Elections” and its 2008 Election Manifesto, reiterated its call to “implement local government elections to ensure accountability and efficiency”.
* The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH), whose membership includes all three Pakatan Rakyat component parties, promised: “The need to re-introduce elections for local authorities at city, municipal, district and village levels with an electoral system which is free and fair, and [which] enables Malaysians to participate actively.”
The People’s Declaration, which all three Pakatan Rakyat component parties endorsed during the 2008 elections, also upheld the principle of local elections.- Coalition for Good Governance(CGG) Media Statement on Local Council Elections
Yes, the 1st step is to ask the Election Commission to conduct the local council elections – Penang government finally sent this letter “…last Thursday…”
If the Election Commission refuses, then the next step is to take the matter to court…
Before this, all blame lied on the Pakatan Rakyat because they did not have local council elections, and did not do anything towards holding these elections. Like the BN before this, the Pakatan Rakyat appointed its own party members/supporters into the local council.
Penang has taken the first step … but what about Selangor(PKR MB), Kedah (PAS MB) and Kelantan (PAS MB)?
Perak, when under the rule of Pakatan Rakyat, conducted elections at the Kampung level (and at 1 Kampung Baru). The reason for not having elections at the Kampung Baru level allegedly was because DAP did not want it. Now, could Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan also start having elections at the Kampung, Kampung Baru and Taman levels – and this is something that the State has the full power to do. There is no need to go through the Election Commission, and as such this failure cannot be blamed on any other, other than the Pakatan Rakyat themselves – DAP, PKR and PAS (maybe PSM too)
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has written to the Election Commission asking it to hold local government elections for the Penang and Seberang Prai municipal councils.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the letter was sent to the commission on Thursday, a day after the state executive council made the decision to call for the elections.
“We have also sent a facsimile to the commission and I’m sure they would have got it by now,” he told a press conference here Saturday.
Lim said the state government had asked the commission to hold the election under Article 113 (4) of the Federal Constitution.
The section says that the state government can call for elections other than federal or state matters.
In January, a non-governmental organisation slammed the state government for failing to live up to its Competency, Accountability and Transparency (CAT) policy when appointing local councillors.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) Penang branch coordinator Ong Jing Cheng said the state government must restore local government elections to enhance democracy. – Star, 6/3/2010, Penang seeking local govt elections
Two days before Pakatan Rakyat celebrates its second anniversary of its takeover of Penang, the state government announced that it has moved to restore local government elections.
The local election will involve two municipal councils – the Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP) and Municipal Council of Seberang Perai (MPSP).
NONEChief minister Lim Guan Eng (right) said he had sent a letter to Election Commission (EC) chief Abdul Aziz Yusof on March 4 asking the commission to conduct election for both local councils.
The state executive council had, in a meeting a day earlier, decided for local council elections to be held, Lim said in the letter.
He also cited Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution, which states that “Federal or State law may authorize the Election Commission to conduct elections other than those referred to in Clause (1).”
Among the state laws that empower the Penang government as the competent authority, the letter reads further, are the Local Government Elections Act 1960 and the Local Government Act 1976.
“Consequently, in order to facilitate and implement this proposal to carry out the election, we request that the Election Commission advise us of its views in relation to the proposed local council election process as soon as possible.
“The state government is prepared to meet with you to discuss the matter further”.
When contacted, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the letter has yet to be brought to the attention of the commission.
wan ahmad ec secretary“The EC will look at the letter and discuss it before giving a response (to the Penang government).
“Whether that response will be positive or negative, it is too early to say. This involves legal issues that we have to taken into consideration,” said Ahmad.
It has been over 40 years since the government outlawed local council elections through the Local Government Act 1976.
Local polls were suspended following the declaration of emergency on Sept 3, 1964, which remains in force.
The call to have local council elections reinstated have grown louder in recent years due to an increasing reports and complaints on alleged poor administration and weak financial management. – Malaysiakini, 6/3/2010, Penang seeks to restore local government elections
2 years late – but better late than never for Pakatan Rakyat to start having local council elections. If the Election Commission refuses, then the blame will shift to the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional. Then, Penang need to take the matter to court…