A history of local elections in Penang Part I: Democracy Comes Early

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Fifty years ago, in March 1965, local elections were suspended throughout the newly founded Federation of Malaysia.

Those were turbulent times in many ways, no doubt, and the centralising of power was a major objective of the federal government. The political disagreements and conflicts among various parties were serious and diverse. This was no surprise, given how independence from the British was gained only eight years earlier, and how the Federation of Malaysia had just been formed out of four very disparate parts.

How disparate these parts were was soon revealed half a year later in the separation of Singapore from the Federation after only two years.


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