Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 7th March 2010:
Cabinet on Wednesday should give “green light” for legislative action to allow state governments like Penang to restore local government elections
The Penang State Executive Council has made a historic decision to restore local government elections for Penang which was suspended 45 years on 1st March 1965 because of Indonesian Confrontation which ended in the latter part of 1966.
If elections to the two Municipal Councils of Penang, the Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP) and the Municipal Council of Seberang Prai (MPSP) are held at this time, it would be doubly meaningful because the last local council elections in Malaysia was held half a century ago in 1961.
In fact, there would be a triple significance as the first-ever elections held in the country was for the Municipal Council of George Town on Dec. 1, 1951 – marking the 60th anniversary commemoration of the start of the nation’s electoral history.
Following the historic decision of the Penang State Government to restore the third vote, with the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng writing to the Election Commission to conduct local government elections for the two municipalities in Penang, the Cabinet on Wednesday should give the “green light” for legislative action to be taken to allow state governments like Penang to restore local government elections.
The restoration of local government elections would be honouring the pledge given by Bapa Malaysia and first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to Parliament on March 1, 1965 that “as soon as” the Indonesian Confrontation had ended, local council elections would held.
The restoration of local government elections was however delayed when a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Workings of Local Authorities was established.
What is significant is that the Athi Nahappan Royal Commission Report on Local Authorities recommended the restoration of local government elections and I have no doubt that this would have been one of the top priority unaccomplished missions which Tunku Abdul Rahman would like the country to complete for him.
The Najib administration is talking about a 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap.
Are the Prime Minister, the KPI Minister, Tan Sr. Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the Najib Cabinet prepared to make the restoration of local government elections in states where the State Government is ready for it a distinct feature of the 1Malaysia GTP Roadmap?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor