Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 11th March 2010:
Najib has forgotten his first promise as Prime Minister that “The era where the government knows best is over” when he gave an instinctive “No” to proposal for local government elections even without referring to his Cabinet
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has forgotten his first promise as Prime Minister in April last year that “The era where the government knows best is over” when he gave an instinctive “No” to the proposal by the Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng for the restoration of local government elections even without referring to his Cabinet.
This is most irresponsible on the Prime Minister’s part. The important issue of restoration of local government elections deserve more serious response from the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the government.
In fact, one prominent article in a current magazine which belongs to the Umno stable of media publications, has the lead article: “Getting Local Councils to Deliver” and posing the question: “A recent survey showed that local councils are a big letdown to rate payers. Will having local council elections, or better, yet, the Government Transformation Plan, help?”
Najib’s instant and summary rejection of the idea of local government elections could be interpreted as the Prime Minister having little confidence or even having utter contempt for the Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha and the KPI Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who is supposed to spearhead the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap.
Najib has not only forgotten what he himself pledged when he became Prime Minister last April, that “The era where the government knows best is over” and that “We can only achieve our ambition for Malaysia if the government and people, in a united effort, work together for success and progress”, there is further regression.
Najib seems to have abandoned the ethos of “The government knows best” in favour of “The Prime Minister knows best” as it did not even occur to him to get the feedback of the Local Government Minister, the KPI Minister for GTP not to mention the entire Cabinet for a considered and appropriate response to the call for the restoration of local government elections after a long lapse of 45 years!
It is a reflection of the utter impotence and lack of principle of Najib’s Ministers that not a single Cabinet Minister had raised this issue at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to ask for a serious consideration of the proposal for the restoration of local government elections, especially as Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister Tunk Abdul Rahman had made a definite and categorical assurance for local government elections on the end of Indonesian confrontation coupled with the recommendation of Athi Nahappan Royal Commission of Inquiry for an elected local government system.
Najib should act more responsibility and be true to his pledge when he became Prime Minister that “The era where the government knows best is over” and agree to the establishment of an all-party task force to study and recommend how local government elections could be restored within 12 months.
The holding of local government elections by next year will be singularly significant for it would coincide with the 60th anniversary of the holding of the first elections in the country – the elections for the Municipal Council of George Town on Dec. 1, 1951.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor