By Political Secretary to DAP National
Chairman, Ean Yong Hian Wah
in Petaling Jaya
on Friday, 11 October 2002
The federal government should restore the local government elections as the federal government had frozen the people’s right to elect their local authorities for 37 years since 1965.
The main issues that arise in the Gaya by-election such as the oppressive car parking fees and the closing of Gaya streets are not of national concern as like corruption, police abuses of power and the 929 declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state. This reflects the deterioration of development of the state of democracy in Sabah in particulary and Malaysia in general.
There are numerous local problems that the local government unable to solve effectively since the implementation of government-appointed local council system. Today, our MPs are force to handle local problems like clogged drains, fallen trees etc. rather than to hold the government to account and debate on the major national policies.
On 1st March 1965, the nation’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, made a ministerial statement in Parliament announcing that the government will exercise its Emergency powers to suspend local council elections which were to be held in May or June the same year, on the ground of the Indonesian Confrontation.
The then Prime Minister made a solemn pledge to Parliament and the nation on 1.3.1965:
“As soon as this peace and quietness has returned we would make haste with all proper preparations for the local council elections, because we realize that these election may generate heat and passion, and advantage will be taken by evil forces to make the fullest use of the situation”.
At the end of his statement, the Tunku again made this solemn plege:
“The very moment peace is declared I can assure this house that the elections will be held. ”
The Indonesian Confrontation ended in the latter part of 1966, but up to this date, the local council elections are still not restored.
The federal government should keep its promise and restore the local governments election as the federal government had frozen the people’s right to elect their local authorities for 37 years since 1965. These local governments include City Hall/ Municipal Council (Dewan Bandaraya/ Majlis Perbandaran), District Council (Majlis Daerah) and Village Council (Majlis Perundingan Kampung/ Mukim).