PUTRAJAYA: The government does not plan to hold local elections because it would not be conducive for the nation, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
He stated that the urban-rural divide in such elections could produce unwanted results which would create strife in the country, such as race-related conflicts.
“The local elections would produce ‘wrong results’ that may end up creating divisions between urban areas and less developed parts in the nation,“ he said at a press conference, after launching the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s Local Council Convention.
Mahathir said the results might result in conflict due to racial differences and other issues, and the government does not want that to happen.
In July, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had said her ministry intended to hold local government elections in three years.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) had, prior to the election, suggested that local government elections might be introduced if it came to power, even though it was not explicitly promised in its manifesto.
Mahathir said the new government was working hard to inform civil servants of what they needed and expected from them to ensure they performed better.
He noted that the government machinery was huge with 1.6 million civil servants and it was vital that both parties were aware of their needs and expectations.
He said under the PH government, power will be given to every officer from the top down and everyone’s contribution was important.
“Because of the huge machinery, systems must in place to ensure civil servants know their exact duties,“ Mahathir said.
“They need to follow the system set up the government, such as adhering to the duty flowchart and other requirements that are in place.”
He said all officers, even those in local authorities are free to present new ideas towards the better development of the nation.
He said one problem was that some officers will delay their decision for a month or at times years and this would in turn cause applicants to have their own issues.
“Some may want to avoid such problems therefore may offer the officer some form of inducement, with those officers knowing this they may purposely delay projects to get inducements.
“With the system we have set up everyone in the decision-making process will be a given a time frame to either approve or reject an application,“ Mahathir added.
On the level of corruption in the civil service, the Prime Minister said it has been very low since Pakatan took over, as there have been few reports on corruption involving civil servants.
He said under the old government it was another matter altogether, and in a way this new government has succeeded in reducing corruption in the country.
Mahathir said there may be corruption going on in the civil service but it remains undetected by the government.