PETALING JAYA (March 7, 2010): The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) is urging Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to match Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s latest reform move: local government elections.
In a statement, Bersih praised the Penang Pakatan Rakyat State Government and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for authorizing the Election Commission (EC) to conduct local government elections for Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) and Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Prai (MPSP), as provided for by Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution.
It pointed out that local elections were suspended by the Alliance Government in 1965 under the pretext of national security. It was never reinstated despite the initial promise and the recommendations of the 1968 Athi Nahappan Report. Since 1976, local governments have been appointed by state governments.
“Bersih urges the EC to carry out its constitutional duty and immediately respond to the request of the Penang government to execute local elections.
“Local elections are demanded by not only the Penangites, but Malaysians in other states who have endured incompetence, inefficiency, lack of accountability, mismanagement and corruption under those who were appointed by unchecked local authorities,” the statement said.
It added that Najib’s Government Transformation Programme will ring hollow if he insists on preserving corruption and the inherent flaws of appointed local councils.
Umno, Gerakan and MCA Penang, as responsible opposition parties in the state, should take a principled stand and back CM Lim’s move and lobby PM Najib to embrace local elections as part of Barisan Nasional’s reform plan, it added.
“Bersih also calls upon the other Pakatan Rakyat state governments to follow in the footsteps of Penang. Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Kelantan Mentri Besar Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Azizan should also authorize the Election Commission to conduct local government elections in their states, amplifying the pressure for a nationwide initiative,” it said.
Bersih urges PM to emulate Lim Guan Eng