KUALA LUMPUR: A DAP MP today challenged Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin to speedily formulate a policy on local government elections, promising to give her full support.
Teresa Kok, the MP for Seputeh and former primary industries minister, said Zuraida should act on the matter rather than talk about it and that DAP was prepared to “engage” with her on it.
Kok said she was surprised to read Zuraida’s statement that none of her former Pakatan Harapan colleagues had stood up for her when the then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad shot down her push for local government elections.
Zuraida said this in Parliament today while replying to a question by Mahfuz Omar, the PH MP for Pokok Sena, if she had the backing of the Cabinet under the Perikatan Nasional administration, as it now included PAS, which was against local council elections.
Zuraida told the Dewan Rakyat that there were no plans for local council elections for now but that the matter was being studied by the government.
“The study will cover a three-year period with the findings brought to the Cabinet and Parliament for approval by mid-2021,” she said.
In a statement, Kok said she had not been appointed to the Cabinet when the alleged incident happened.
“I was only sworn in by way of the second batch. However, throughout my entire term as a Cabinet minister, I have never come across any Cabinet paper or presentation on local government elections presented by her under the housing and local government ministry. Instead, I have only read her verbal statements on this subject in the media a few times.
“If she is serious in pushing for local government elections, she should start holding a series of dialogues with various stakeholders and NGOs nationwide, and she should then present a study and a concise proposal to the Cabinet, rather than expecting her Cabinet colleagues (or former Cabinet colleagues) to support her verbal media statements.”
She noted that Zuraida had held the post of housing and local government minister since PH won the elections in 2018 and that she had “had ample time to plan and prepare a comprehensive policy on local government elections in Malaysia”.
She hoped Zuraida would speed up her proposed policy on local government elections now that Mahathir was no longer prime minister and not let it drag until mid-2021.
Kok said local democracy had always been in the manifestos of Pakatan Rakyat and PH in the previous general elections.
“DAP has been championing local government elections and local democracy for decades. Although DAP is not in the Perikatan Nasional government, it is prepared to engage Zuraida to formulate a policy on local government elections and she can then present a Cabinet paper on this.
“DAP assures her that we will give her our unwavering support in this initiative.”
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