By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
SHAH ALAM, March 19 — Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is pushing for a discussion with the Elections Commission (EC) on the possibility of conducting local government elections in the state.
The mentri besar (picture) wrote a letter, dated March 11, to ask EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof to study such a possibility and sought its views on a proposal to run the local council elections based on the current provisions in the Federal Constitution and the state powers.
“The state also expressed its readiness to meet Abdul Aziz and the commission’s senior officers to discuss the issues further,” according to a statement from Khalid’s office today.
The state’s Pakatan Rakyat government is pushing to utilise Article 113 (4) of the Federal Constitution, which “authorises” the EC to conduct elections other than the general elections.
“Furthermore, state laws allocate power to the state government to appoint local council representatives based on the Local Government Elections Act 1960 and Local Government Act 1976. The Selangor government believes that local elections must be restored as it will allow the rakyat to elect the candidate who they think can serve them best,” said the statement, in line with Pakatan’s policy towards transparency, accountability and in strengthening democratic practices.
Talks of local government elections first cropped up when another Pakatan state government, Penang, under its Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, wrote to the EC on March 4 to revive the concept, which had been abandoned for decades.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, however, had disagreed with the suggestion, stating that it “was unnecessary and would only create further politicking.”
It is understood that the EC will issue a reply regarding the restoration of the “third vote” by sometime next week.
Local council elections were suspended in 1965, when Malaysia and Indonesia were involved in the “Confrontation” over the country’s formation by Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.