Press conference statement (2) by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on Friday, 13th January 2012:
Proposing to issue a gazette notification exempting all local authorities in Penang from applying Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 before seeking a court declaration to compel Elections Commission to conduct local government elections
In 1956, George Town became the first local council in the country to have a fully elected council with the president elected from among the councillors. In 1965, local government elections in Malaysia were suspended. The official reasons given was that the country was facing the threat of Confrontation initiated by Indonesia.
The Local Government Act passed in 1976 , provided for only appointed councillors and presidents (Section 10) and was adopted by the Penang State Government. All councillors, including the presidents were appointed by the state government of the day. One of DAPís key agenda is the restoration of local government elections.
The Penang PR state government has pressed for local government elections to enable councillors and mayors to be directly elected ever since we took power in 2008. Amongst some of the efforts taken by the Penang State Government to restore the third vote(after vote for parliament and state seats) are as follows:-
As a first step, the Penang State Government has been advised by Tommy Thomas, at a meeting with Tommy Thomas and some EXCO members yesterday, to first negate Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976. Section 15 states: "Not withstanding anything to the contrary contained in any written law, all provisions relating to local government elections shall cease to have force or effect." In other words section 15 nullified all local government elections.
Tommy Thomas has also advised that the State government issue a Gazette notification exempting all the local authorities within Penang from applying Section 15 of the Local Government Act. This would result in section 15 not being applicable in Penang and is the first step towards seeking a court declaration to compel the Election Commission to conduct local government elections.
I will be proposing at the next EXCO meeting next week directing the State Legal Advisor to issue this gazette notification. This is a necessary precursor to take the issue to court to seek a declaration, which will be conducted by Tommy Thomas.
*Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary General & MP for Bagan