KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance’s (Muda) Selangor state election candidates today promised to restore local council elections, as they urged voters to vote for them.

The Muda Selangor candidates acknowledged that the current laws and regulations limit aspirations to bring back local council elections, but believe this can be achieved “with the right political will” since the federal government has a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

“We firmly believe that the implementation of local council elections is the way forward.

“We pledge to bring back local councils and restore the power of the third vote to the hands of the people, to strengthen our communities, and to herald a new era of democratic representation and progress,” all 14 of the Muda candidates for the Selangor state election said in a joint statement today.

Advertisement

“A VOTE FOR A MUDA CANDIDATE IN SELANGOR, IS A VOTE FOR A VOICE TO CHAMPION LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS,” they concluded in the statement.

Earlier in the statement, the 14 candidates said decentralisation of power is important to empower the community, but said that Malaysia currently sees the state government appointing councillors in local governments which results in “political appointees”.

The 14 candidates contrasted this with local council elections, which they say empowers the public to have a direct say in choosing their representatives responsible for managing and providing essential services to their communities.

Advertisement

“These elections offer the opportunity for individuals to elect representatives who genuinely reflect their interests and values.

“It is time for Malaysia to seriously consider adopting a truly three-tiered governance system, one that fosters democratic practices right down to the grassroots level,” they said, claiming that local communities often find themselves “unrepresented” due to the state governments’ political appointments of local councillors.

Since local councillors have a significant influence in shaping communities and directly impact neighbourhoods, the 14 Selangor Muda candidates said it is only right that communities be given the autonomy to select individuals who truly represent their interests instead of having such positions being given out as “rewards or political bargaining chips”.

Muda will be fielding 20 candidates in the state elections this August 12, with 14 of them contesting in Selangor.

On December 8, 2021, then Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican in a written parliamentary reply said Malaysia will not revive local government elections, as it would cost at least RM302 million nationwide and such elections for local councillors may not necessarily guarantee the provision of good service to the public.

Local council elections were once held between 1951 and 1965, during which time Malaysians were able to elect their local councillors.

Local council elections were suspended almost 50 years ago in 1965 because of the Indonesian Confrontation, and the then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had promised the Dewan Rakyat that these would be restored once the Confrontation was over.

The Confrontation ended in 1966, but local government elections were never restored.

The Pakatan Harapan-led government in Penang was previously unable to reintroduce local government elections in the state, following a Federal Court decision in 2014.