Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuesday decision on local elections

The Election Commission (EC) will announce next Tuesday its stand on local government elections that are being demanded by the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states of Penang and Selangor.

The EC will have a final meeting this Monday before making the announcement the following day.

“Actually we [the EC panel] had already discussed the requests of Penang and Selangor last Tuesday but we are finalising our deliberations this Monday and will, at the latest, make the announcement next Tuesday,”said EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider today.

Last Tuesday’s discussion was based on a report by the EC’s legal adviser.

“Our decision will be based on the Federal Constitution ... will not consider other factors. We want this decision to be legally sound,” he said.

He added a thorough discussion is needed as the request by the two states differs eventhough both touch on the same matter.

“Penang wants to give us the authority to conduct local elections while Selangor wants us to study the possibility of hold elections.

“Thus there are legal issues to consider in greater detail,” he said.

Both state governments had requested a dialogue with the EC before it makes its decision.

Last Tuesday, Abdul Aziz said that constitutional and legal matters had to be studied before he could respond to letters from the respective state governments in order to ensure that his answers were adequate and were fully understood.

“We will first forward our response to the state governments before making the announcement,” he said.

Abdul Aziz added that as an independent and professional body the EC is not bound by the state positions of anyone whether it is the prime minister’s, opposition leaders’ or whosoever.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng wrote to the EC chairman on March 8, giving it the power to conduct local government elections.

Last Monday, the Selangor state government asked the EC to study procedures and for an opinion on the holding of local government elections.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously stated that he was of the opinion that local government elections need not be restored. He said the restoration of such elections could not guarantee quality municipal services.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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