Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MP Liew: Govt lied about 1968 royal commission report on council polls

Bukit Bendera parliamentarian Liew Chin Tong has accused the government of lying when it claimed that the abolishment of local elections was based on the recommendations in the (Datuk) Athi Nahappan Report on local authorities.

He said the 1968 findings of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Workings of Local Authorities in West Malaysia, led by the former Federal Minister, had in fact made recommendations to restore the third vote.

“One brazen falsehood that the government has wielded to support its stance not to conduct local elections was that it was recommended by the Athi Nahappan report.

“This is not true. The report in fact recommended the continuation of the system of elected local government in Malaysia,” said Liew, who is also Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political strategist.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had rejected outright a proposal by Penang and Selangor to reintroduce local government elections. Malaysia abolished local government elections in 1965.

Liew said the Umno-led Putrajaya administration's reluctance to revisit and amend the current political structure was unwittingly adding to the list of glaring and ever growing policy differences between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

He pointedly noted that the BN government had also dismissed calls to abolish the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and reforms to the police force based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission Report of 2005.

He said the 2005 report among others proposed the formation of Independent Police Complaints and Misconducts Commission (IPCMC).

He added that by dismissing the call for local elections by the Penang and Selangor state governments, Najib is keeping Malaysia under a time warp, stuck in an archaic political arrangement.

“Such a move shows his refusal to move ahead with the times and give in to the people’s demand for democratisation,” said Liew.

He said the 1968 Report concluded that “ …. weighing both the processes in a dispassionate manner we cannot but take cognizance of the fact that the merits of the elective process with all its inherent and attendant weaknesses, outweigh those of nominative process.”

The Royal Commissioners further remarked that "nomination is no real substitute for elective representation. If anything, nomination is an anachronism and a relic of colonialism. It is antithetic to democracy".

They added: "democracy with efficiency is always more desirable and better than efficiency without democracy".

“At the recommendation of the Athi Nahappan report and the persistent demand by the people for democratisation, the Penang and Selangor governments have decided to begin the process of local elections.

“It is time for the federal government to stop standing in the way of democracy,’ said Liew.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

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