Local government election: Stop seeing everything through racial lens

21 Dec 2023 10:24am
Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

SHAH ALAM - Local government election proposed in Kuala Lumpur by DAP Federal Territory Chairman Tan Kok Wai will not affect the interests of Malays in Malaysia in the future.

Sunway University Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Asia) deputy chief (strategy) Professor Wong Chin Huat said that the issue should not arise as Tan only proposed local government election in Kuala Lumpur and not in other states.

Wong said that local government elections in Kuala Lumpur were equivalent to state elections like those of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly (DUN) and other states.

"If the Selangor State Assembly Elections do not affect the interests of Malays in Selangor, why would local authority elections in Kuala Lumpur affect the interests of Malays in Kuala Lumpur?" he said when contacted by Sinar Premium.

Wong made this comment while discussing Tan's recent statement that urged the government to reinstate local authority elections in Kuala Lumpur first to enhance democracy in the Federal Territory.

Tan was quoted as saying that the introduction of local government elections in Kuala Lumpur aimed to sustain and provide choices for its residents to elect local council members.

For the record, local government elections in Malaysia were suspended in the 1960s before being replaced with an appointment system, namely the Mayor and Council President, including council members.

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Wong (left), Mazlan (right)
Wong (left), Mazlan (right)

Wong said he was also puzzled by the attitude of some Umno leaders for not attacking former Rembau Member of Parliament, Khairy Jamaluddin, who also made a statement supporting local authority elections in the Keluar Sekejap audio podcast.

"Why is Umno not criticising KJ but heatedly oppose it when DAP proposes it? How can we advocate unity and the Madani concept if everything must be viewed from a racial perspective?" he questioned.

On the other hand, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Technology and Informatic Faculty Perdana Centre lecturer Associate Professor Dr Mazlan Ali, said there was no need for the unity government to conduct a detailed study to assess the feasibility of local government elections in Malaysia.

He said that local government elections were not a complete solution to various issues such as misuse of power, corruption, misconduct, and wastage in the current local authorities.

"What is more important now is for the government to improve governance systems, management, and administration in local authorities to prevent wastage, corruption, misconduct and wastage.

"Elections through democracy will pose more risks of excessive politics.

"This is because politicians will spend more time fighting and lobbying to win local authority seats rather than focusing on advancing their respective administrative areas," he said.