HOUSING and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming has reiterated that local council elections are not the current priority for the unity government. Local elections in the country were suspended in the 1960s and replaced by appointed heads, a system that continues to this day.
Nga’s statement comes in response to recent calls for the reintroduction of local government elections, with Kuala Lumpur DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai urging Putrajaya to initiate the process in the capital city to strengthen democracy.
However, this suggestion has been met with criticism with UMNO Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh labelling it as “insensitive and provocative” and federal territories PAS Youth chief Azmer Syazwan Ahmad Suparmin claimed has led to “disharmony among the people”.
Addressing the matter, Nga, who is also the DAP deputy chairman emphasised that the government is currently focused on other sectors and is not in a hurry to reintroduce local council elections. He expressed the need to prioritise stability in the aftermath of political upheaval.
“My answer is always consistent when it comes to local council elections. Since I was appointed housing and local government minister, the ministry’s priority has been to focus on (other) sectors.
“Our country has just recovered from political upheaval, so now is the time to calm the political situation and focus on work that can benefit the public,” Nga stated during a visit to a bazaar in Seri Kembangan.
“Everything will happen at the right time. Local council elections … are not the ministry’s priority at the moment,” he said, adding that his ministry is now focussed on rolling out 5,000 public facilities like playgrounds, toilets and hawker centres each year.
“Maybe in 10 years when the ministry completes 50,000 public facilities … maybe that’s the time (to have local council elections),” he added.
While local elections remain off the government’s immediate agenda, Nga highlighted the ministry’s commitment to rolling out 5,000 public facilities such as playgrounds, toilets and hawker centres each year.
He humorously suggested that local council elections might be considered in 10 years, once the ministry completes 50,000 public facilities.
Moreover, Nga also provided figures indicating that his ministry has implemented 5,196 projects worth RM700 mil this year, marking the highest number of projects implemented in a year since Malaysia’s independence.
Meanwhile on Tuesday (Dec 26), the federal territories PKR Youth wing filed a police report against federal territories PAS commissioner Azhar Yahya, countering claims that local elections could lead to racial tensions.
PKR Youth wing chief Azfar Aza Azhar stated that Azhar’s remarks were factually incorrect and deemed them racist, as reported by Bernama.
In a post on PAS’s X account on Monday (Dec 25), Azhar had asserted that local council elections might result in a perceived monopoly by the Malaysian Chinese community.
“What guarantees are there that Malays will win seats and have a majority voice to ensure that the rights and privileges of Islam and Malays are preserved as stipulated in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution?”
Confirming the receipt of Azfar’s report, Wangsa Maju police chief Ashari Abu Samah mentioned that the case had been referred to the Bukit Aman classified crime investigation unit. This referral is based on the case touching on 3R (race, religion, and royalty) issues. – Dec 28, 2023