Zorro, together we will see local elections…

Zorro has posted on his blog to remind Haris and myself not to forget local elections.

Zorro’s reminder

I do not. And believe neither Haris.

Together, you, Haris, myself and many others will see that happening.

PAS Kelantan could shamelessly break its promise (under BA manifesto) to introduce local elections for consecutive nine years (1999-2008) and go unpunished.

We would not let that happen in Penang, Perak and Selangor for sure. We must make Guan Eng, Khalid and whoever heads Perak (incidentally Zorro’s and my home state) the new Tsu Koon, Khir Toyol and Tajol Rosli come next elections if they fail to deliver it (or at least not to exhaust all possibilities).

And the Barisan Rakyat enthusiasts in Kedah and Kelantan and PAS’s friends elsewhere – including myself – must also ensure PAS does the same. While PAS dared not to repeat its empty promise in its own manifesto, it has signed up to the People’s Declaration which includes local democracy.

If local elections happen in Penang, Perak and Selangor, I doubt that Kedah and Kelantan can hold on to the feudal system now. That would show clearly it is an anti-democratic party and Keadilan has every duty to break its tie.

There are two challenges before us.

The first is the interim mechanism of appointment before local elections are called. NGOs met in KLSCAH yesterday to discuss about that and decided to request meeting with all state governments on local councilor appointment. The solution sought is only appointment of non-partisans, strictly based on the qualification stipulated in the Local Government Act 1976.

In today’s Oriental Daily (2008-03-11, AM1), new state assemblyman from Pandan Maran, Ronnie Liu (a possible candidate for the deputy MB) has said that DAP will ask for 40% of local councilors.

While I don’t think appointment of only non-partisans is politically practical, a repetition of the old feudal system where seats are given to local party warlords is certainly not what we can accept. We do not vote in the opposition parties just to become an improved version of BN? Do we?

I think a reasonable solution for the interim period should be (a) a quota, says 1/3, for non-partisan professionals and social leaders; (b) proportional representation by party votes in last state assembly elections for the remainder (2/3). In other words, the opposition/BR governments should appoint some BN local councilors as well. If they can’t think with farther sight than BN, sadly, we are not getting a better deal.

The second is the choice of electoral system for local elections. At the moment, lawyers’ opinion seemed to be inclined to make use of existing the Local Council Elections Act 1960. I think we should take the golden opportunity of reintroducing local elections to test new electoral system like the German’s Mixed Members Proportional (MMP). We need some form of party list proportional representation to ensure political pluralism beyond a two-party system.

It’s a lot of hard work. There is a good sign nevertheless. Suffering massive electoral upset, BN may now see the beauty of a fairer political system including local elections. OD (2008-03-11, AM6) reported that the MCA new stateassemblyman for Kuala Kubu Baru, Wong Koon Moon, agreed strongly for the Selangor’s ruling parties to carry out their election promises.

If BN is willing to embrace reform, the opposition will not be able to hijack or betray the cause of reform. For we are the boss. We can always replace our servants if they don’t serve us well.

****

Would you like to join us in pushing for this? Local elections will not take place unless there are more “fanatics” who want it. Please share with us what do you think and if you will be interested in any new initiatives to push for that.

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