Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng ready to meet PM over local gov't polls

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he was prepared to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak to explain the need to hold local government elections in the state.

"The elections are the best way to improve the services of councillors. Elected councillors will have to work hard for the people," he told reporters in Penang.

Penang proposed to hold elections to pick councillors for the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP). Selangor is also expected to follow Penang's example.

Najib was reported to have said yesterday that it was unnecessary to hold local government elections as the focus would turn to politicking instead of being on services.

Lim said the state government did not agree with Najib's views because 101 of the 192 countries of the world held local government elections.

He said he hoped that the Election Commission (EC) would consider favourably the state government's application to hold local government elections.

"We want to restore power to the people. As such, we want the EC to give appropriate consideration to the application," he said.

The EC had said that it would consult its legal advisors on whether the Penang and Selangor state governments could hold local government elections.

On another matter, Lim said he wanted inspector-general of police Musa Hassan to furnish proof that the police not only investigated and lodged reports against opposition leaders but also probed BN leaders.

"I want to ask, which BN menteri besar, chief minister or executive councillor have the police themselves lodged reports against?" he said.

He was commenting on a media report today quoting Musa as saying that the police had lodged reports against individuals and politicians from the BN or opposition without showing any favouritism.

Give power back to the people

In Shah Alam, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said local government elections gave power to the people to elect leaders to run the local government.

Even if the proposal was dismissed by the EC, the state government would continue having discussions on whether to hold local government elections or otherwise, he told reporters after the weekly meeting of the state executive council.

"Some lawyers say we can hold local government elections, some say we cannot. We are still discussing the matter because it involves much cost," he said.

Abdul Khalid also said that local government elections would give the BN government the opportunity to win positions at the level of local government in states under the Pakatan Rakyat administration.

- Bernama

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