Democracy Meets Tourism in Malacca Next Saturday (July 26)

The Malacca Bar Committee, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI-Parliament) like to invite you to the Conference on Roadmap to Local Elections held in King’s Hotel, Malacca, the coming Saturday (26 July).

While many in the opposition parties and civil society have been talking about reviving local elections for years, and it is clearly stated in the Federal Constitution that local government is within the state jurisdictions (Schedule 9 – State List – Item 7) and state laws may authorize the Election Commissions to conduct local elections (Article 113(4)), none of the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states has taken any action towards that direction.

Why is such inaction?

How feasible is it for the states to carry out local elections on their own?

And how to push for local elections nationwide?

Can the National Council for Local Governments be a channel for federal-state negotiation on this?

This conference intends to seek concrete answers to these questions so that the public debate on whether to have local elections can move on to the next stage – either for more concrete action plan or for more in-depth concerns of local governance design. We proudly present distinguished panelists, Prof Abdul Aziz Bari, Tan Sri Dato Dr Chin Fook Weng, Mr Derek Fernandez, Dr Goh Ban Lee, Mr Andrew Khoo, Mr Edward Lee, Mr Ronnie Liu, Mr Victor Oorjitham and Mr Sivarasa MP to share their views in three sections titled “Why Local Democracy”, “The State Solutions” and “The Federal Solutions”.

While most conferences on democratization are organized in Kuala Lumpur, we believe it is all the more important to bring the agenda of institutional reform outside of the capital city to make it a more national one. To encourage participations from Malacca, all registrations will only cost RM 20, and an guided tour to the historical city in the evening, free for charge, is scheduled for those interested. You may therefore make next weekend your family holiday in Malacca. It will be democracy and vacation two-in-one!

For registrations, please contact Mr. Anthony Chua <ygchua@yahoo.com> , (Human Rights Sub-Committee Chairman), Mr. Lawrence Ang (Executive Secretary) – 06-284 5519 / 06-286 4514 or Mr Wong Chin Huat (chinhuatw@gmail.com) . Do register early as places (only 80) are being taken fast.

Detailed programme is as below:

CONFERENCE DETAILS

Date : Saturday, 26th July 2008

Time : 8.30am – 4.30pm

Venue : King’s Hotel, No.30, Lebuh Ayer Keroh, 75450 Melaka

REGISTRATION FEE

RM 20.00

(Registration fee includes lunch, tea and seminar materials)

PROGRAMME

8.30-8.45am – Registration

8.45-9.00am – Welcoming Speeches by the Organizers: Dr Lim TG; Mr KP Ng and Mr Wong Chin Huat

9.00-11.00am – Session 1- “Why Local Democracy?”

– Moderator – Mr Ng Kong Peng

– Mr Derek Fernandez – “An Assessment of the Status Quo Under the Current Laws.”

– Mr Edward Lee – “The role of civil society in local governance.”

– Mr Victor Oorjitham – “The Earlier Experience in the 1970s.”

– Question & Answer Session

11.00-11.15am – Tea Break

11.15-1.15pm – Session 2 -“Reviving Local Elections : The State Solutions”

– Moderator- Dr Lim Teck Ghee

– Mr Andrew Khoo – “How the State can do it.”

– Mr Ronnie Liu – “Why the State has not done it.”

– Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Chin Fook Weng- “Gerakan’s Position On Local Elections”

– Question & Answer Session

1.15-2.00pm – Lunch

2.00-4.00pm – Session 3-“Reviving Local Elections : The Federal Solutions”

– Moderator- Andrew Khoo

– Professor Abdul Aziz Bari – “ Institutional Reforms and Federal-State Relations”

– Mr Sivarasa Rasiah MP – “The Parliamentary Mechanism: Private Members’ Bill and Select Committee”

– Dr Goh Ban Lee – “The Constitutional Mechanism: “National Council of Local Governments.”

– Question & Answer Session

4.00-4.30 pm -Closing & Tea

4.30pm onwards – a guided tour of the Historical City of Melaka (optional)

SPEAKERS

Professor Abdul Aziz BARI is lecturing at the Department of Public Law at the International Islamic University.

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr CHIN Fook Weng is a national speaker for Gerakan and a former senator and Associate Professor.

Mr Derek FERNANDES is a town planning lawyer and a member of the Petaling Jaya City Council.

Dr GOH Ban Lee is a retired USM Associate Professor interested in urban governance, housing and urban planning.

Mr Andrew KHOO is the Co-Deputy Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, with wide interests from parliamentary reform, electoral reform to Free Trade Agreements.

Mr Edward LEE is the state assemblyperson for Bukit Gasing and the President of Resident Association Section 5 Petaling Jaya.

Mr Ronnie LIU is the state assemblyman for Pandamaran, Selangor and the Selangor Government Exco member for Local Government, Study and Research Committee.

Mr Victor OORJITHAM is the Chairman of Maxwell Towers Resident Association (local joint action committee) and former local councilor for Petaling Jaya.

Mr Sivarasa RASIAH is the member of Parliament for Subang and the Vice President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Moderators/Organizer Representatives:

Mr Ng Kong Peng is the current Melaka Bar Committee chairman.

Dr Lim Teck Ghee is a former UN advisor and past Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in ASLI. He is currently the CEO of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

Wong Chin Huat is a founding member of Civil Society Parliamentary Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI-Parliament).

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