Maria Chin wants to engage Umno, PAS to revive local council elections

13 Jan 2019 / 19:54 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Maria Chin Abdullah welcomes engagement with all stake holders to revive local council elections, including from Umno and PAS.

“Of course. That goes without saying that ‘menyantuni’ (engagement) is not one-sided. We want to engage with everybody, definitely. They also have to understand, don’t forget, this isn’t just Pakatan Harapan has doubts about the local council elections (but also) Barisan Nasional didn’t give us either.

“When I was in the NGO, we have been fighting way before 2008.

“This is not a new issue, it’s a long-standing one,“ she said in a press conference after speaking in a forum with several other civil society representatives here today.

On PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s opinion that certain races would only stand to gain should the election were to proceed, the Petaling Jaya MP said,“ I think he has not done his homework well enough to understand there are already changes in population-wise as well as the distribution of people. It is just an excuse of not wanting the election, so the government (not to have) is because of race shouldn’t arise.

“This is a democratic process, it’s an old one which has been abolished, we’re asking for it to be reinstated,“ she said, adding the matter will be brought up to Parliament soon.

Political analyst Wong Chin-Huat, who was also present, said that based on his study, only six local authorities have populations which outnumber the Malays - Ipoh, Kuching Selatan, Iskandar Putri, Penang, Sibu and Subang Jaya.

“Therefore, 96% are Malay-majority and this includes Petaling Jaya,“ he said.

He also suggested for a pilot election to be held in Shah Alam.

“It’s not a matter whether the Shah Alam wants to have it or not, it’s a Malay-dominated city.

“If you (the authority) dare not take to that, there is only one explanation - you do not want the Malays to have the right to choose their leader. It is denying the Malays’ right, not about defending it,“ he added.

Earlier, Zuraida Kamaruddin had reiterated her commitment to push for local council elections.

This was stated in a speech read by her Special Function Officer Chua Yee Ling.

On the question of images reported of money being given by Pakatan Harapan party workers in Cameron Highlands are of petrol reimbursements given to volunteers on nomination day, Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said no election offence has been committed.

“That is not an offence as long as it is accounted for it in their expenditure.

“Then it is not an election offence,“ he said, who was part of the panel’s forum.

Jelai operations centre deputy chief Arvind Bharet had said the volunteers had used their own motorcycles to travel from the interior to Tanah Rata yesterday.