The Penang state assembly in action.
The complexity that is Malaysia not only made it necessary for the country to have a federal structure, it made its citizens rather confused about how the different levels of power overlap and how they contest with each other. Much inefficiency and other maladies can be reduced, if we only knew how our tiers of government relate to each other.
With 2012 being a possible election year, Malaysians will hear endless speculation about possible poll dates and outcomes. In making a decision on who to vote for, it is important for Malaysians to understand the different tiers of government and the roles and responsibilities of elected representatives at each layer.
Presently, they vote only for two out of the three tiers, namely their Members of Parliament (MPs) and state assemblypersons. Local councillors are appointed by the state government, although there has been an ongoing campaign to reintroduce local council elections, an issue which has been taken up by the Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan)-led states of Selangor and Penang.
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