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Penang Local Council Elections

March 6, 2010
Penang moves to restore local gov’t elections
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Mar 6, 10 11:11am
Two days before Pakatan Rakyat celebrates its second anniversary of its takeover of Penang, the state government announced that it has moved to restore local government elections.

The local election will involve two municipal councils – the Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP) and Municipal Council of Seberang Perai (MPSP).

NONEChief minister Lim Guan Eng (right) said he had sent a letter to Election Commission (EC) chief Abdul Aziz Yusof two days ago asking the commission to conduct election for both local councils.

The state executive council had in a meeting on March 3 decided for local council elections to be held, Lim said in the March 4 letter.

He also cited Article 113(4) of the federal constitution, which states that “Federal or State law may authorize the Election Commission to conduct elections other than those referred to in Clause (1).”

Among the state laws that empower the Penang government as the competent authority, the letter reads further, are the Local Government Elections Act 1960 and the Local Government Act 1976.

“Consequently, in order to facilitate and implement this proposal to carry out the election, we request that the Election Commission advise us of its views in relation to the proposed local council election process as soon as possible.

“The state government is prepared to meet with you to discuss the matter further.”

EC: Too early to respond

When contacted, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the letter has yet to be brought to the attention of the commission.

wan ahmad ec secretary“The EC will look at the letter and discuss it before giving a response (to the Penang government).

“Whether that response will be positive or negative, it is too early to say. This involves legal issues that we have to taken into consideration,” said Ahmad.

It has been over 40 years since the government outlawed local council elections through the Local Government Act 1976.

Local polls were suspended following the declaration of emergency on Sept 3, 1964, which remains in force.

The call to have local council elections reinstated have grown louder in recent years due to an increasing reports and complaints on alleged poor administration and weak financial management.

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