Have we forgotten about local govt elections?

Polling Station sign

For over a decade, DAP has been calling for the implementation of local government elections or the third vote in the country.

DAP leaders such as Lim Kit Siang, Chow Kon Yeow, Lim Guan Eng and so on have presented a barrage of arguments for the government to give the people the right to vote for their local councillors.

They demanded that the government amend the Local Government Act and “restore the right of the people” for the sake of “representation of democracy”, ensuring “merit and competence” and ensuring “accountability and transparency”.

Now that the DAP is in government, and the second largest party in the Pakatan Harapan coalition, what’s stopping them?

While the Pakatan Harapan government has reneged on most of its election promises by blaming the economy and the past government, what is there to blame for not pushing for local government elections?

DAP claimed corruption would be stamped out by having local government elections as the elected councillors would be held accountable to the people and not to political parties, and hence also provides the necessary check-and-balance in the local councils. Oh yes, that’s what they promised and yet, the excuses are aplenty from racial sensitivities among the Malays, to the need to fulfil other promises first.

DAP’s Ong Kian Meng said that the biggest beneficiary for local government elections would be Umno and PAS due to the Malay majority in the country. Is that also an excuse? Because that’s certainly not a reason.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had last December said there are no plans to restore local government elections.

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There is essentially no big hurdle in restoring local government elections, and if the DAP holds true to what it has been preaching and pushing for as the opposition, what’s stopping the party from pushing for the amendment to the Local Government Act now?

Is it because they are afraid that they do not have enough candidates for the elections? Or is the DAP getting comfortable with the practice of appointing its own members and supporters to local government and local level positions? Isn’t this the political patronage system that you despised pre-May 9?

While DAP can wriggle its way out of other promises made in the PH manifesto, there is no real reason for it not to put its foot down on restoring the third vote, press for it at Cabinet and ministry levels.

Where is that fire and guts in running down the political appointment practice which the DAP is currently practising?

The PM may not agree with you, but you can certainly start the campaign or the movement, if PH is truly an equal-partner coalition i.e. you, DAP, are entitled to your political position.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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