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KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — The concept of local council elections may still be unacceptable to Kuala Lumpur residents in three years, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said today.
News portal The Malaysian Insight quoted him as saying that he hoped the concept of the third vote would be accepted by residents in the capital city and by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in five years’ time.
“(This is) so it will not cause doubt, tensions, or misunderstanding among the people. It is not something that is immediate, that can be done in 100 days or three years.
“But I hope in five years, the concept of local representation and elected representation in local councils will be accepted widely without issues of race, fear, and so on,” Khalid was quoted as saying at a press conference at City Hall.
PAS has previously opposed local council elections, claiming that it would widen the gap between urban and rural development and that it could lead to another race riot.
Khalid reportedly said local council elections may not be implemented before the 15th general election.
“We don’t have a crystal ball. Maybe it will take three or five years, or maybe it will be the agenda for the next elections. I don’t know.
“But we are committed to the democratisation of the public. We want to look at it step by step,” he was quoted as saying.
The Parti Amanah Negara lawmaker also said local council elections could be introduced in stages in Kuala Lumpur, such as by electing 12 out of 24 local councillors and appointing another 12, with the mayor to be appointed.
“We are going in that direction, but the timeframe is flexible. The immediate action will be to make sure the elected representatives are given a place in DBKL to speak out.”