Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Najib against democracy - Local Council Elections. Same with Pakatan Rakyat?

Well, Prime Minister Najib representing the UMNO-led BN government has declared that he is against democracy at the local government level - against Local Council elections. 

Why? Because then the people will be choosing their own Local Councillors, which will mean that Local Councillors will be more representative of the people, and certainly more loyal to the people. Local Councilors that are not pro-people and their local community will certainly not get re-elected by the people. 

Today, under the UMNO-led BN government (and also the Pakatan Rakyat State governments), the power lies with these political coalitions to choose and appoint the Local Councillors, and hence the loyalty of these Local Councillors is to their political masters, and they have to do as their 'political masters' summon, irrespective as to whether it is for the people's good or not. The people are not important, and so long as you are 'good' and 'loyal' to the politicians, in particular the Menteri Besars (and the PM), you get appointed as Local Councillors. 

Corruption may also rife, because all one needs is to  do is get to the right Local Councillors, or really get to the MB (or the PM) - and a phone call will decide the fate of the community. 

Why are there not enough space for parking lots? Why do development projects (shop houses, buildings, etc) get approved in already congested areas? Why do big multinational supermarkets get approvals, knowing very well that it will kill the businesses of locals running the smaller sundry shops, shops, etc? Is this what the people of the community want? It really does not matter what the people in the community wants - all that matters is what the ruling parties want, and that decision sometimes takes only one thing into consideration, i.e. what do I get by approving this and that...money?etc?

In most developed and developing countries, that are democratic - people choose their own leaders/reps at all levels. In Malaysia, the 'government' chooses and appoints even the Kampung heads, Taman heads, People's Representative Council, Local Councillors, Penghulus, etc - it is so 'feudalistic'...authoritorian.

People are not even consulted....let alone informed of many things before decisions are made. The UMNO-led BN government is famous for saying that 'the government knows best'...'that we will take all views into consideration' - but alas the people are completely excluded in the process. What are the different views, opinions,...? What are the pros and cons? What are the implications? - All these are matters that people in a truly democratic nation would like to know before hand - and maybe even participate in the decision making process by giving their own views and comments. But, that happens in a democratic country - not Malaysia. Here, the government just tells you after the decision has been made ...after the milk has been spilled..

People want full democracy...and are no longer satisfied about coming out every 5 years to vote for MPs and ADUNs - they want to vote for their local councillors, their Senators, their heads of villages/communities, ...

The BN was against giving people the power to elect their own local leaders, local councillors, penghulus, Senators... and the Pakatan Rakyat also seems to be the same so far (save for Perak, where the people elected kampung (+ 1 kampung baru) leader during the PR rule)
Pakatan Rakyat is saying that they want to have local council elections now, 2 years after coming into power and with about 2 years remaining, and I question the sincerity. The Selangor MB, as reported, was clearly trying to give a very wrong picture when all he was doing was writing a letter to the EC to get their views - not a letter directing/asking them to conduct Local Council Elections. Not too sure about the real contents of the Penang Chief Minister though...[See earlier post:-Selangor not keen on Local Councilors chosen by the people - they prefer to appoint. A new attempt to pacify LC Elections advocates..]

Hopely, Najib's opposition will help push the Pakatan Rakyat to move forward and really have the local council elections at last...

PUTRAJAYA: Local government elections called by the Penang state government would not ensure better services to the peoples, aid Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the candidates would focus more on politicking and campaigning, rather than serving the people.

"Local government elections were abolished a long time ago.

"We feel it will increase politicking at the local (government) level.

"We want to improve services for the rakyat (people). By having (local government) elections, the focus will be more on the political process.

"Those contesting will be more focussed on campaigning," he told reporters after attending the National Civil Service Convention here Tuesday.

Both the Penang and Selangor state governments, run by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance, have declared they want to re-introduce local government elections as part of the democratic process to ensure greater accountability and transparency.- Star, 9/3/2010, PM against local govt elections (Update)


1 comment:

robert said...

Both BN component & Pakatan Rakyat also want local elections. See malaysiakini.

'No local elections': Gerakan, Pakatan tick off PMYip Ai Tsin
Mar 9, 10
2:39pmPrime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's statement today that it was unnecessary to hold local government elections has brought a howl of protest from inside and outside the BN coalition.

In an immediate reaction, Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang said while he understands the premier's concern that such elections would lead to too much 'politicking', the “advantages of local government elections outweigh its rejection”.

Tan also urged the federal government to assist the Pakatan states to hold the local government elections, including making amendments to the relevant laws to allow states that opt for local government elections to do so.

Stating his reasons, Tan said such elections would serve as a necessary check-and-balance mechanism against the policies and conduct of local government administrators, who are mostly civil servants.

“It would also create democracy at local level and promotes transparency in the administration of local councils,” Tan said in a statement.

In addition, Tan said, the performance of local councillors can be assessed by the residents and they can be booted out if their performance was not satisfactory.

“Those candidates who do not perform and prefer to spend more time campaigning and 'politicking' would likely be rejected by the local people.”

“I hope that our prime minister would reconsider to allow local government elections in Pakatan states. Let the people compare the administration of local councils in states which adopted such elections with those states without them,” Tan added.

On Saturday, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said his DAP-led government wanted to restore elections in the state's two municipal councils and he had written a letter to the Election Commission urging the agency to organise them.

Tan subsequently challenged other Pakatan states to follow Penang in order to fulfill their election pledge to hold local government elections.

A day later, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said that his government would follow Penang.

Umno 'trapped in the past'

Meanwhile, PKR's Seri Setia state assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said it was "too premature" for Najib to dismiss local council elections before the EC had decided on the issue.

"Obviously, Umno is trapped in the past," he quipped, when contacted today.

Nazmi stressed that the accountability and slashing of red tape as a result of the polls would help enhance local governance.

According to him, local council elections could be found in all "mature democracies" around the world.

He also noted that Malaysia had local elections before the Malaysia-Indonesia 'Confrontation' in 1964.

Concurring with Nazmi, Jawi state assemblyperson Tan Beng Huat said that local elections would ensure that those elected will perform well in their tasks.

He also urged the PM to be "more open minded" in addressing this issue, and reminded him that elected representatives are serving the people and not politicians.