The ambition to enhance local democracy remains strong in Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) states. So far, no help has come from the Election Commission, but the initiatives that have nevertheless been taken to elect local councillors, village heads and mosque committee members are impressive.
IN A PEM column last year, I wrote extensively about local government elections and the laws and policies governing them in Malaysia. At that point, both the state governments of Penang and Selangor had written to the Election Commission to request for local government elections to be held in their states. The response was negative, and the 11-page reply stated that the National Council of Local Government would have to give its approval first, and since this had not been done, local elections were not possible. The Local Government Act 1974 and the Federal Constitution were both cited as a reason for its refusal to take on the task of conducting local elections.
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