Apex court sets date for hearing on local pollsThe Federal Court in Putrajaya will hear the Penang government's application for leave to restore local government elections on May 29.
State Local Government and Traffic Management committee chairperson Chow Kon Yeow said the application had been filed in March but the state was told that hearing would only commence after the general elections.
He said the court hearing sets in motion the state's plan to bring back local elections which had been denied to Penangites since 1965.
He added that he would represent the state in Putrajaya, while constitutional expert Tommy Thomas was the legal counsel in the case that was filed together with Penang resident and former Aliran president P. Ramakrishnan.
"In our petition, we said with the newly gazetted Local Government Election (Penang Island and Province Wellesley) Enactment 2012, the state should be allowed to conduct its own election for local councillors," Chow told a press conference.
"In this case, the Federal Government and Election Commission are respondents, as the latter should take all the necessary actions to ensure that local elections take place " he added.
"We want the court's declaration that the state has the absolute and exclusive jurisdiction to enact and implement laws on local elections," he said.
Born 1857, died 1965
Federal laws which are found to obstruct local elections should be declared as ultra vires the constitution, null and void, he stressed.
Local elections in the George Town municipality were held since 1857 but banned in 1965 during confrontation with Indonesia with the promulgation of an Emergency regulation .
Since then, councillors for the Penang and Seberang Perai municipal councillors, the third tier of the state administration, have been political appointees.
However, there are also a few NGO representatives picked to make up the list. - Malaysiakini, 17/5/2013, Apex court sets date for hearing on local polls
Friday, May 17, 2013
The struggle for Local Council elections continues...but real reforms can be done without waiting for court rulings and law changes
The struggle for Local Council elections continues.....
Even as we wait for Local Council Elections, there are means and ways for State Governments to ensure that the persons representative of the community are now appointed (while we wait for elections) to represent the communities - NOT the political parties in the coalition that rules the State. Sadly, Pakatan Rakyat did the same thing that BN did in appointing people from its component parties.
Kampung and Taman Elections - there is nothing stopping the State government from doing this. Perak, under the brief Pakatan Rakyat rule after the 2008 GE, did this and many Kampung/Taman leaders were democratically elected. The democratically elected leaders could then chose amongst themselves who will sit in the Local Council to represent the communities.
Of course, Local Council need also representatives from professional groups, consumers and workers as well.
Time for MTUC to be given ONE seat in every Local Council to represent workers and trade unions.
Likewise, local businesses and employers should also be getting a representative in the Local Council.
Religious communities should also be represented - maybe there should be 1 or 2 representative from the Surau/Mosque communities in the area. They could choose their reps.
The non-Muslim religious communities, likewise, could also have 1 or 2 representatives. The local MCCBCHST committee could identify their representatives.
Of course, the parties of the ruling coalition could have reps, and in the same way the losing coalition should also have reps.
Local Councils must also be transparent and accountable. Accounts - income and expenditure must be made available on Local Council websites. People want to know how their monies are spent.
Likewise, a e-communication system must also be put in place - maybe this would be like an e-group. So that Local Councils will not have to answer same questions from the community several times.
The promises the Pakatan Rakyat made before GE 2008 has yet to be realised - and we know that towards the tail end of their rule, they started taking steps to make this real. Now, Penang government has gone to court... A legal struggle is one thing, but as mentioned by me (and many others), there is so many other things that could be done to make the Local Councils more 'democratic'...