Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We want Local Council Elections NOW - or 'BN has become PR; MIC, MCA and Umno have become DAP, PAS and PKR' ...

People want democracy but Pakatan Rakyat(PR) , just the BN, also 'tak mahu kasi' (do not want to give) when it comes to Local Council Elections...

And all kinds of excuses will be given to justify the continuation of appointment of Local Councillors...If there really

Civil society also seems to have stopped calling for Local Council Elections especially after some of their own were also appointed as Local Councilors - now civil society seems to be just talking about 'criteria of appointment'...

An old article by citizen Nades from the Sun is pasted below, for our reading pleasure...

OVER
the weekend, a group of like-thinking individuals sat at the Royal Lake Club to talk about reforming local councils and the election of councillors in particular. Media reports quoted one of the speakers, journalism lecturer Wong Chin Huat, as saying that the Pakatan Rakyat-governed states must be pushed to revive local elections.

Having campaigned and pushed for election of councillors for a long, long time, such views may be wishful thinking, but it’s not going to happen. No government – PR or BN – is going to opt for elected representation in local councils.

Ask Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez who wrote about how the state could call for local government elections without amending the federal constitution. His opinion must be gathering dust in a steel cabinet in the state secretariat building in Shah Alam.

"Why not?" would be the obvious question. From what we have seen in Penang, Perak and Selangor, there’s no room for people’s representation. The composition of councils in these states shows that there’s room for only supporters and cronies. Having promised local elections in their campaigns, what was delivered was short of expectations. But do they care about public sentiments and expectations? Do they care about residents’ groups, civil society and community leaders in the decision-making process? Do they care about the mandate given by the people?

No dear readers, a big NO because they have to look after and satisfy those who helped put them there. They have to appease only a handful of hard core supporters and party workers, not the majority of the people who voted them in. For a good three weeks, leaders of the three parties in power were busy horse trading – who gets what. In the process, we the people became the victims of the inter and intra-party squabbles and people’s representation had to be compromised to make way for the interests of politicians and their parties.

And when pointed out to them that they have to include this group of people, they have the audacity to say: "We never promised to appoint them?"

"Oh Yes, we have included members of the public!" they would retort, but the next question would be: "How many – what percentage?" Having a handful for the sake of dressing up the representation is like having nothing at all. When councils are packed with politicians, the old malaise of "you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours" will come to the fore. With a council packed with politicians, the people’s voices will be drowned by the power of the majority. Will there be voices of reason or voices of interested parties and the businesses and the millions?

Never mind the fact that the Local Government Act says that those appointed must have expertise in a specific area or are well-versed in local government affairs. Look at the list and the facts stare at your face.

Wong, the other speakers and the motley crowd which attended the talk on local elections, were there with good intentions. They represented the larger interests of society but sorry to say, their voices are going to be lost in the wilderness of politicking and the art of diplomacy.

Another speaker, DAP parliamentarian Liew Chin Tong was quoted as saying: "Parties are important to make consolidated decisions." Whatever that means, it is a telling statement indeed.

Three months ago, when I criticised the composition of the councils in Penang at a forum organised by Ipoh City Watch, party supporters took umbrage and confronted me, saying: "You cannot say such things. It’s only two months. Give us time." Time to do what? Horse trading and manoeuvring so that the cronies benefit?

Would those who were members of the "Shadow MPPJ" who are now sitting in their air-conditioned offices care to give their views? Or are they waiting to be challenged to a debate?

It took the PR government four months to appoint councillors in Selangor, after several postponements. Were councils in the list of priorities? No, they were at the bottom of the ladder while those in power were busy trying to appease their supporters. As I said in a previous column, nothing has changed except for the abbreviations – BN has become PR; MIC, MCA and Umno have become DAP, PAS and PKR. Remember the demonstration by PKR members over the lack of "proper party representation in local councils" outside the MB’s office after the list was announced? That in a nutshell, says everything – We want 100% of the spoils.

R. Nadeswaran is passionate about the way local councils are managed and run and has written extensively on the need for elected representation. He can be reached at: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com . - Sun, 30/7/2008, Local elections still a dream

4 comments:

joechan said...

Charles,

I believe you are so learned to know that the Federal Govt law has prevented any such local Govt elections be conducted except for the State Assemblies. Why dont you ask BN govt to amend the laws on this matter?

Its very clear that any state govt has no right to conduct such local govt elections. Thats why if Pr were to win the Federal Govt come GE13, then we should ask for a revision of this law and allow for direct local govt elections.

I thought this matter was very cleary explained by Lim Guan Eng and even when the PR Perak State Govt tried out the local election to elect councillors, they were deemed unlawful by BN and so whats your stand now?

Charles Hector said...

There is another legal opinion that states that Local Council Elections can be held without any amendment.

Even if Local Council Elections cannot be held - there are democratic ways of allowing the people of the area chose their own Local Councilors.

The truth of the matter is that the PR do not want to have local council elections..

In fact, they do not even want to give democracy back to the people. Perak stands as an exception, where they did have elections in all 817 Kg Tradisional in Perak. All 817 Ketua Kg were elected by their own kg folks. This is a state govt policy which was decided in the exco meeting.

At Kg Baru level, it seems that DAP was reluctant to implement local election, but one Kg Baru in Gopeng constituency, which is Kg Baru Gunung Rapat manage to conduct elections and elect their leaders.

But, alas the Perak PR government did not manage to have elections at the Taman levels ....but, I believe that they would have had these elections at the Taman level too if they had the time..

BN cannot deem anything unlawful - only the court can. If you are uncertain, take the matter to court and get a ruling - but see that this was not done by PR.

In short, PR does not want Local Council Elections...they do not want democracy at the Kampung/Kampung Baru/Taman Levels - they just want things as it was during the BN rule - and this makes me so sad, as I had expected better from them...

regulating the regulators said...

MPSJ ignoring their own rules and subject rsidents (minority) to daily torture

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear All,

Need your advise and help.

MPSJ continues to maintain an illegal road open despite it being illegal. I say illegal because:

1, not a gazetted road (admitted by MPSJ)
2. noise level is way above MPSJ recommended limit (admitted by MPSJ)
3. All affected residents had sent a petition to have the road closed or at least regulated
4. there is a perfectly nice road (about 1.5km away) for residents to exit the Taman (for those unaffacted less than the 1..5 km as it it at their end)
5. complaint to Public Complaints bureau also requested MPSJ to close the road

The reasons MPSJ gave:
1. police advise against closing as it could resulted in a riot
2. majority wants it (those who lives more than 1 km away and are unaffacted)

How do I get MPSJ to comply with their own findings as it is very unhealthy for us living on the road.

Was originally a deadend road, was opened (against the wishes of the people - petition was signed and sent to MPSJ against it) but we were promised that it would be closed back ince road completed - never did and that was 4 years ago!

Need your help!!!! Do I write to Suhakam now since Public Bureau of Complaints have no authority over local government!

Help!

regulating the regulators said...

MPSJ ignoring their own rules and are subjecting residents (minority to daily torture)for the past 7 years!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear All,

Need your advise and help.

MPSJ continues to maintain an illegal road open despite it being illegal. I say illegal because:

1, not a gazetted road (admitted by MPSJ)
2. noise level is way above MPSJ recommended limit (admitted by MPSJ)
3. All affected residents had sent a petition to have the road closed or at least regulated
4. there is a perfectly nice road (about 1.5km away) for residents to exit the Taman (for those unaffacted less than the 1..5 km as it it at their end)
5. complaint to Public Complaints bureau also requested MPSJ to close the road

The reasons MPSJ gave:
1. police advise against closing as it could resulted in a riot
2. majority wants it (those who lives more than 1 km away and are unaffacted)

How do I get MPSJ to comply with their own findings as it is very unhealthy for us living on the road.

Was originally a deadend road, was opened (against the wishes of the people - petition was signed and sent to MPSJ against it) but we were promised that it would be closed back ince road completed - never did and that was 4 years ago!

Need your help!!!! Do I write to Suhakam now since Public Bureau of Complaints have no authority over local government!

Help!