Categorised | Letters to the Editor

PR must make clear its plan on council elections

THE Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) is concerned by the article Pakatan tones down electoral reforms, published on The Malaysian Insider on 15 Dec 2009. According to the report, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), in its coming national convention, may not include local council elections in its Common Policy Framework.

The CGG would like to remind member parties of the Pakatan Rakyat of the commitments made to the rakyat at various platforms prior to and during 2008 general election. They include:

    PKR’s Manifesto 2008 promised in item nine 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.”

      The 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 include all three Pakatan Rakyat component parties, also 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 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.

          The CGG believes that the PR must be clear on its plan to “strengthen local democracy”, which must include local council elections and not just administrative reforms. Prior to March 2008, the major frustration of the rakyat is the lack of accountability, transparency, excessive and uncontrolled spending of local councils.

          Some of these issues remain. For example, presently all local council budgets are prepared by the councils, without prior consultation with the citizens. Citizens are given little time to provide the feedback and there is very little details regarding the budget lines.

          Through local elections, people can decide on who fits the job and best represent their interests, rather than political appointees who have to toe party lines. It can also provide political momentum for further reform to root out red tape, inefficiency, corruption, and other administrative malpractices.

          While the PR state governments may have reservations to conduct local elections under current administrative structures, they must communicate their concerns frankly to the public and seek innovative solutions. Legal obstacles are simply too poor excuses for delaying local elections. Informed urban residents will not buy this.

          To keep its political credibility, the CGG calls for a high-powered dialogue between the PR and civil society on local elections. The CGG also calls upon member parties of the Barisan Nasional to state their position to bring back local council elections at all state levels.

          Maria Chin Abdullah
          Executive Director, Empower
          Chairperson, Coalition for Good Governance

          16 Dec 2009

          The special position at the time of Merdeka protected the poor Malay Malaysians
          (© pic courtesy of Farish Noor)

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          4 Responses to “PR must make clear its plan on council elections”

          1. KW Mak says:

            See, I knew this would happen… hence the article I wrote about the need for Pakatan Rakyat to state exactly how they will implement local council elections.

            Sigh.

          2. equal says:

            NO DIFFERENT FROM BN.

            PR equals to BN, PR=BN.

          3. influencer says:

            I won’t support PR if they don’t [state] clearly how [long it will take] to [implement] local elections. Local council flaws was the precusor for their GE win.

          4. cjsavvy says:

            Why this change of policy? They offer the candy to us and then snatch it away when we are about to eat it. This is not good.

            Local council elections are the way forward. I may not understand the legal implications over the issue but please tell me, in plain words, why this is not going to be included in the common policy framework. Otherwise, I’ll come to my own conclusions.

            Look here PR, I’m offering you my vote in the next GE. Don’t make me snatch it away at the deciding moment. It may only be one vote but I have friends and family. And they have friends and family. It’ll all add up. This is not a threat but you keep your part of the bargain and I’ll keep mine…comprende?


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