ELECTORAL reform group BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Election) believes that the implementation of local council elections no longer needs to be hindered by racial concerns.
Its chairman Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said Kuala Lumpur’s (KL) population is multi-ethnic with Malays forming the largest group.
With the current trend of increasing Malay births, the percentage of Malays in KL is expected to reach 50%, according to him.
He cited the 2020 Population Census by the Malaysian Statistics Department in Kuala Lumpur, Malays made up 41.5% of the population, followed by Chinese (36.2%) and Indians (8.9%) while those of other ethnicities made up 1.1%. The remaining 12.3% are non-citizens.
“With these statistics in mind, it is quite certain that whoever is interested in nominating a candidate for a local council election would be sure to consider prioritising a Malay candidate,” Muhammad Faisal penned in a Facebook post today (Dec 20).
However, he said one should not push aside concerns raised by various parties. As such, the issue of local council elections will frequently be viewed as contentious from a racial standpoint.
“To make local council elections a reality, we need to be considerate and open to hearing the voices of other parties,” he pointed out while noting that new urban or the ever-expanding township projects such as Shah Alam, Bangi and Putrajaya are mostly occupied by Malays.
According to him, it was also linked to an incident that was thought to disrupt political stability, particularly in the 1960s which led to the dependency on local council elections in 1965.
“When the government passed the Local Government Act in 1976, it effectively put an end to the practice. This concern arises when urban areas are frequently associated with areas dominated by the Chinese and as if the Malays will lose control of the city,” he observed.
“In my reckoning, the demographics of the city in the current context are not the same as in the 1960s since we somehow inherited a system left by the British colonialists who deliberately let the Chinese live in the town/city the Malays in the villages and the Indians in the rubber plantations.”
On Sunday (Dec 17), Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai suggested restoring local council elections, starting with Kuala Lumpur, following the appointment of a minister in charge of Federal Territories following last week’s cabinet reshuffle.
“We don’t need to continue carrying out local elections throughout the country but we can start in Kuala Lumpur which desperately needs democracy in the process of democratising the administrative system of our nation’s capital,” the DAP Federal Territories (FT) chairman Tan told the party’s FT annual convention. – Dec 20, 2023