“UMNO will never allow local council elections, will fight it to the end,” Lokman vows

UMNO will never let Kuala Lumpur DAP chief Tan Kok Wai’s suggestion to let the local government election be held, said an UMNO man.

UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam described the suggestion by Tan as an internal movement by the “Lim Dynasty” to sabotage DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke’s leadership.

“After Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng’s comments on the non-Malay prime minister issue, now it’s Tan’s turn to repeat the Lim Dynasty’s old desire for local council elections.

“We want to tell Kit Siang that we will never allow local council elections to be held, we will fight it to the end! Stop being a tool of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and sabotaging your own party,” Lokman said in a Facebook post last night (Dec 17).

Tan Kok Wai (Pic credit: The Star)

Yesterday (Dec 17), Tan suggested restoring local council elections, starting with Kuala Lumpur, following the appointment of a minister in charge of Federal Territories incurred from the Cabinet reshuffle last week.

“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,” Tan said at the Federal Territory DAP convention yesterday (Dec 17).

The Cheras MP also lauded the administration’s decision to move the Federal Territories Ministry under the Prime Minister’s Department.

The Federal Territory in Malaysia consists of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan and the ministry was last led by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as minister before the Parliament’s dissolution on October 10 last year prior to the 15th General Election (GE15).

The Federal Territories Ministry was recently revived with former health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa at its helm.

Section 15 of the Local Government Act stipulates that there is no election for local authorities in Malaysia, a distinguishing trait from federal and state authorities.

The local government election was last held in 1963 before facing suspension the following year, which was supposed to be temporary, became permanent in 1976 when Parliament passed the Local Government Act resulting in the abolishment of the local government election altogether and only provided for the appointment of local councilors.

Meanwhile, a group made up of 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has called for an end to the current practice of the federal and state governments choosing and appointing local governments, Dewan Negara members, and even local community leaders.

Instead, the group has called for elections to these bodies.

“Currently, in Malaysia, we only democratically elect MPs and state legislative assemblypersons once every five years.

“Malaysians do not democratically elect the representatives of the other structures of governance such as local council and Dewan Negara. They also do not democratically elect their local community leaders,” the group said in a statement.

Charles Hector

“These state-federal appointed representatives are not freely chosen peoples’ representatives, and as such, is an abuse of power and a violation of human rights that affect or deny peoples’ ability to effectively participate in the governance of their individual local communities, their local government, the senate and also Malaysia.

“State-federal government generally tend to appoint party members or supporters as peoples’ representatives in these other structures of governance – but if there was an election, these appointed persons may never even be chosen by the people,” the group said.

They claimed that state appointments undermine peoples’ right to participation in government, when views and positions of the people can easily be ignored by these state-appointed representatives who listen more to the appointing authority, and not the people they are supposed to represent.

“In Malaysia, even in the smallest communities like villages, kampung barus, and tamans, the leadership continues to be state appointed rather than being democratically elected.”

The statement was signed by civil society leaders Charles Hector and Rohana Ariffin while the 16 groups included Aliran; MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture); the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns; Environmental Protection Society Malaysia, Gagasan Insan Progresif; North South Initiative; Sarawak Dayak Iban Association, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia and Teoh Beng Hock Association for Democratic Advancement, Malaysia. A number of international groups also endorsed the statement in solidarity. – Dec 18, 2023

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE