Putrajaya’s excuse to not restore the third vote a malarkey, PSM chides

PARTI Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) criticised the Government for its refusal to restore local council election on flimsy grounds of losing millions of ringgit, if it was allowed.

“It may cost RM302 mil as Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican had claimed but isn’t it better to save billions of ringgits nationwide by making all local councils directly accountable to the local residents?

“And the claim that ‘the existing system of appointing local councillors has been running well’ is not substantiated, as the performance of these appointed local councillors has never been scrutinised and evaluated by the residents they are supposedly serving,” its central committee member Choo Chon Kai told FocusM.

Earlier today, Reezal Merican said the Putrajaya would not allow local government elections to take place, citing cost issues.

He said that such elections would cost RM302 mil, which translates to RM2 mil per local council.

“The cost estimates are just a minimum and do not include hidden costs that will be borne by other related agencies such as the police to monitor safety during elections and members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) to control the situation at voting stations,” Free Malaysia Today reported the Kepala Batas MP as saying.

Unimpressed with the minister’s argument, Choo pointed out that local government polls are an important pillar to a democratic country.

Appointed councillors lack accountability

He added that it would empower residents to elect mayor and local councillors of their choosing, district or city level, a “power” which has been denied to Malaysian for almost six decades.

“And the cost excuse given does not hold water, as democratic elections enable the people to hold their local administrators accountable to the public.

“Elected councillors and mayors would be made answerable to the voters, not the political masters who appointed them by undermining the democratic process,” the PSM leader mentioned.

Choo remarked: “In fact, the lack of accountability from local councillors and mayors due to no electoral mandate and scrutiny from the people, would cost more wastage and loss of public funds to the Government”.

Malaysia used to hold local government polls until it was postponed in the 1960s due to the Indonesian Confrontation.

Although Pakatan Harapan vowed to restore the third vote, it failed to do so following resistance from their then-leader, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. – Dec 9, 2021

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