Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pakatan leaders slam third vote rebuff

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today slammed the Election Commission’s (EC) rebuff to their demands to restore local government elections, saying it hindered democracy.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the rejection was a hindrance to democracy though the rejection may have been based on legal constraints.

“It is best for the EC to start considering reinstating local council elections in the urban areas where the population can forge a relationship with the local authorities to govern their own affairs,” he told The Malaysian Insider in Parliament here.

“This is one of the efforts to [make] democracy in the country more mature,” he added.

Khalid, who is also MP for Bandar Tun Razak, said his team of executive councillors will be briefed on the reasons given by the EC as well as discuss the next course of action.

Officials from the state told The Malaysian Insider yesterday they had received an 11-page reply from the EC to their earlier inquiry on whether local council elections can be held.

According to the EC, provisions or aspects of law governing local elections under the Local Government Election Act 1960 had been abolished and neither the commission nor the state had the authority to restore the third vote.

Penang DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the first PR leader to engage the EC for the third vote be revived in his state, said he is not surprised by the rejection.

He said this was expected when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stated his disapproval with the proposal.

“We should not be surprised at this decision, since the PM has himself expressed his disagreement on local council elections.

“If tauke gave his opinion, then who’s going to say anything against it? EC should be independent. This shows the EC is not free,” Lim told a press conference in Parliament here.

Lim argued that Under Article 113 (4) of the Federal Constitution, powers can be accorded to the EC to have other elections other than those stated in the clause.

The state govt has the power under the Local Government Act as well as Local Government Elections Act 1960. The act still exists and is enforceable added the Bagan MP.

“EC did not at all discuss with the state government before making the decision. The failure of EC to discuss the decision shows that they are unable to carry out the responsibility given to them. They cannot be free, no principle of freedom,” he said.

The Penang CM then said his government will study the rejection letter for future action but will not change their position on the matter.

“Am not ruling out anything at the moment, although the contents of letter stressed in legal language, effects still the same,” he said.

No taxation without representation, said the Penang CM to further make his case for the third vote.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

No comments: