City folks urge Selangor to hold local elections

By G. Manimaran and Syed Mu’az Syed Putra
September 05, 2010

PETALING JAYA, Sept 5 — City residents have asked Selangor to go ahead to conduct local council elections in its next development plan despite the disapproval of the Election Commission.

The proposal comes from mainly urban residents attending the Selangor Blueprint 2011-2013 dialogue sessions which began in the middle of last month.

“I found out that the participants especially from urban areas, this is their priority,” said Merdeka Center executive director Ibrahim Suffian who coordinates the dialogue.

The Selangor Blueprint acts as mid-term review for the state government since March 2008. The dialogue sessions are meant to gather public feedback, prior to formulation of policy for the period of 2011 to 2013.

Up to yesterday, Selangor had organised 10 dialogue sessions. A similar session is being held in Klang today, while Kajang will have its turn tomorrow.

“Those who participated in Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya raised their views hoping that local government officials will be more accountable in their services to the people,” said Ibrahim.

However, he added that the public still wanted the state government to focus on improving services and basic amenities before restoring the elections.

Last March, Selangor and Penang proposed to conduct local elections, but was shot down by EC who said that there is no law that allows for the restoration of local elections.

The states were invoking its powers under Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution, which states that federal or state law may authorise the EC to conduct elections other than parliamentary or state elections.

The EC, however, explained that local government elections was abolished by Section 15 (1) of the Local Government Act 1976.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also rejected the plan saying it would only give rise to politicking at the local government level and would not improve services for the people.

Meanwhile participants at the Selangor Blueprint dialogue sessions in Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) yesterday said the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government still needs to make more improvements despite its success for the last two years.

The MBPJ dialogue was attended by 80 people.

Three major topics were discussed, infrastructure, development and economic policy; good governance and transparency; social issues and community development.

Under the infrastructure, development and economic policy plan, participants asked the state to solve traffic congestion problem, inconsistency of infrastructure development including wider roads and efficient traffic dispersal system.

Participants also asked the government to improve public amenities, takeover water management, introduce a crime index, cleanliness, security and for housing and development in Petaling Jaya be planned properly so development of industrial areas could be orderly.

On good governance, participants also proposed local election to be restored, Petaling Jaya to compete with Kuala Lumpur, amend the town planning act and for MBPJ councillors to be more active in their areas.

Concerns that pro-people project were being turned into pro-developers project were also raised by participants.

The residents also asked entertainment outlets to be closely monitored. They also asked the state to focus on crime issues which they said were caused by weak human capital development policy. They also claimed that the high presence of foreign workers in Petaling Jaya have affected the locals.

The participants also wanted microcredit scheme to be introduced to help the poor and the disabled and the setting up of community centres in all housing areas.

Today, a similar dialogue is being held in Klang Executive Club, Bukit Raja for the Klang Municipal Council and Grand Hall, KWSP Training Centre for the Kajang Municipal Council.

The Selangor Blueprint 2011-2013 will be completed next month after all the feedback is collated, state officials said.

Representatives from local government, statutory bodies, industrial leaders and religious bodies have been invited to attend the dialogue.

The public can also write to <> to give feedback on infrastructure, development and economic policy; good governance and transparency; social issues and community development. TheMalaysiaInsider....