Sunday, 13 May 2018

Newly elected members of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur will push for local government elections as part of its first 100-day manifesto.

New MPs to push for an elected mayor


Saturday, 12 May 2018

by bavani m and shalini ravindran

The first local government elections in Kuala Lumpur took place in 1952.

IF ALL goes according to plan, the next mayor of Kuala Lumpur may be elected by the people.

The newly elected members of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur will push for local government elections as part of its first 100-day manifesto.

According to a legal expert, this can be done as early as the next Parliament sitting.

For 20 years, MPs from the Opposition, which is now the new Federal Government, collectively championed local government elections for a more transparent and accountable system of governance at Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

The first such elections in Kuala Lumpur was held on Feb 16, 1952, where 12 out of the 18 councillors in the then Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council were elected, with the remaining six appointed by the Sultan of Selangor.

It was suspended in 1965 during the Confrontation with Indonesia.

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng said DAP MPs in Kuala Lumpur planned to push for local government elections as one of its first priorities.

“We need an elected mayor who is answerable to their electorate and will pay more attention to the needs of the people and not to those who appointed them.

“My plan is to use the next 100 days to think of the legal framework and system to revive it.

Lim (in red) during a walkabout at Jinjang Utara Market, Kuala Lumpur.

“Hopefully, it can then be implemented in the subsequent 100 days,” he said after a walkabout in Jinjang Utara market.

In the meantime, he said DBKL would operate as usual, headed by Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, whose tenure as mayor ends on July 8 next year.

Bukit Bintang MP Fung Kui Lun concurred with Lim, saying that local government elections was something they were looking at, but it was too soon to talk about it.

“Give us time to implement things one by one,” he added.

Legal expert on local government issues, Derek Fernandez, said the reforms necessary for local government elections was to first change the policy and then to come up with a legal framework designed to accommodate that policy.

“The policy will need to move into the registry framework to amend it.

“Then, the Federal Territory Acts will need to be streamlined with the Local Government Acts whereby the decision-making powers are not centralised with the mayor,” he said.

He explained that the Local Government Acts would need to be amended to remove the abolishment of this elections and reinstate it.

“This can easily be done if they pass an Act in Parliament. They can also pass an amendment to the Federal Capital Act to allow the appointment of the mayor which can be done in the next Parliament sitting.

“The problems and solutions are known, and with competent people assisting, it can be done fast,” he added.

On who could contest in the local government elections, Fernandez said it would depend on the policy.

“What is the framework, do you want a ratepayer, voter or inhabitant?

“Technically, this can include politicians, but does he have the time and commitment?

“What happens if there is a conflict of interest between state and local government policies,” he pointed out.

Fernandez said if the policy of the new Government was the democratisation of local governments like DBKL, having greater participation of local government would lead to higher quality decision making.

Amin Nordin said he was open to the idea.

“Why not? I have never experienced it (local government elections), so I would not know about it (of the benefits),’’ he said.

When told that DBKL would only be accountable to the people of Kuala Lumpur and not a minister, which would mean less interference from politicians, the mayor said: “Very hard to say since we never had that experience, but maybe.”

However, he added that nothing would change with DBKL’s administration and he would carry on with the instructions from the new government.

Amin Nordin is the 11th mayor of Kuala Lumpur.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/metro-news/2018/05/12/new-mps-to-push-for-an-elected-mayor-reinstatement-of-local-government-elections-can-be-done-in-next/#5oiJxSQjX3BYRdQs.99

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