KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — Restoring local council elections is purely about increasing the effectiveness and accountability of local authorities, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said today.
The Iskandar Puteri MP told PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang that there was no basis to the latter’s attempt to tie the restoration to matters such as race, religion or royalty (the 3R’s of local politics), but rather “rates, roads, and rubbish”.
He said restoring the elections that were suspended since 1965 is crucial towards improving Malaysia’s democracy.
“Elected local government empowers citizens with the democratic right to participate in third tier democratic governance to take ownership of the decision-making process about their immediate surroundings, serving as a training ground for citizens to directly experience democratic governance at the grassroots level,” Lim said in a statement.
He said he was taken aback by Hadi’s speech in London when the latter reiterated his opposition to local government elections as he felt they must be inclusive so that cities are not dominated by just one race.
“Is the thinking of PAS leadership under Hadi so fixed and frozen that they are immune to arguments, facts and the truth as illustrated by PAS leadership’s continued opposition to local government elections.
“Will the Hadi PAS leadership stop looking at local government elections from the lens of toxic and vicious politics of lies, hatred, fear, race and religion and from the point of view of local government democracy?” Lim asked.
During a dialogue session with the Malaysian diaspora in London yesterday, Abdul Hadi was called a racist by one of the participants who demanded to know why he was opposed to local council elections.
Hadi responded by saying that local councils must be inclusive so that the cities are not dominated by a single race, which he claimed could lead to a repeat of the race riots in 1969.