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Thursday, January 27, 2005
Let's Have Local Govt Elections Again


Many may not be aware that we had elected local government prior to our independence in 1957 and for the first seven years of our independence from 1957 to 1964. Till 1963 , we were known as the Federation of Malaya. These elections were suspended on the ground of national emergency arising out of Indonesian Confrontation with us over the formation of Malaysia

The Indonesian Confrontation ended in 1966, but local government elections never came back and for the past 40 years or so were never held despite a commission stating that it was healthy to do so. The federal gomen decided not to do so on the grounds that elected local government was open to corruption and abuses of power!

So what we had for the past 40 years were nominated local councillors and thhe majority of them came from the BN coalition parties. Usually these councillors were nominated mostly as a reward fro their good deeds. But have these nominated proved to be less open to corruption and power abuses? The record of nominated local government has shown the opposite to be true, such a system is even more vulnerable to corruption and power abuses. There being no way for the ratepayers to exercise a check-and-balance role which is to be found in elected local government. At least when local elections were held, the track records of the local councillors were subjected to scrutiny each time when they have to seek a renewal of their mandate. And during those years there were exempelary local councillors like C Y Choy of Penang.

After some 40 years without accountable elected local councils, it is time for the people to demand that local goverment elections be returned to the people. Pak Lah must walk the talk and ensure that public funds are well made use of and not squandered for unnecessary 'luxury' items like FRP railings and so on.




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