Laws on local council elections to be amended

Zuraida Kamaruddin, minister for housing and local government.

GEORGE TOWN: The Housing and Local Government Ministry needs three years to prepare the working paper on the proposal to implement local council elections for the Cabinet’s approval.

The local government minister, Zuraida Kamarudin, said that in the meantime, her ministry would collaborate with local councils to educate the members of the public on local council elections.

“Within these three years we will organise workshops, forums and so on to all stakeholders. Today is the second step whereby the local councils will play their roles by going down to the ground to engage the community, to educate them on what local council elections is all about.

“At the same time, the ministry will make amendments on related acts that need to be amended. InshaAllah (God willing), by the end of this year we will present the proposed amendments on acts related to the local council elections to the Cabinet,” she told a press conference after attending the public forum entitled ‘Local Council Elections: Who Loses, Who Wins’, here today.

Also present was state executive councillor for local government Jagdeep Singh Deo.

Zuraida said the time frame for the implementation of the local government elections would be determined after the proposal was tabled and approved by the Cabinet.

“The implementation of this election can be carried out in stages, not necessarily to be conducted simultaneously. Penang is quite a mature state, they already proposed for the implementation of local council elections even when they were still an opposition state then, so for the implementation, Penang will be the number one on the list,” she said.

Commenting on Prime Minister  Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous statement that the government would not hold local council elections, Zuraida said she would ask the prime minister to give her ministry the opportunity to present the proposal before the final decision was made.

Meanwhile, Jagdeep hoped the local council elections could be held in the near future as Penang had long fought for it’s implementation.

“The minister’s presence at the forum today shows her commitment for the implementation of local council elections in the near future. The issue now is when (the implementation). We support this effort and hope it can be expedited,” he said.