|Penang going to court to restore local govt polls|
|Monday, 25 February 2013 09:29am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
By CHRISTOPHER TAN
GEORGE TOWN: The state government is taking the Federal Govern-ment and the Election Commission (EC) to court to seek the restoration of local government elections.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said local government elections in the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) should be restored as it is a state matter.
Lim said the application would be filed within the next two weeks.
“The state legislature has jurisdiction to hold local government elections under the Ninth Schedule and Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution.
“The state has informed the EC that the Local Government Elections (Penang Island and Province Wellesley) Enactment 2012 would come into force in Penang by Jan 31 this year.
“However, the state failed to obtain any commitment from the EC to conduct the elections for MPPP and MPSP in accordance with the enactment,” Lim told a press conference at the Penang Develop-ment Corporation (PDC) office in Bayan Baru yesterday.
Lim added that the state has instructed its lawyers to apply to the Federal Court for leave to seek a declaration that Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 (a Federal law enacted by Parliament to abolish local government elections throughout Malaysia) is invalid in the state.
Former Aliran president P. Ramakrishnan, who was present at the press conference, said that ratepayers should have a say in local councils and that councillors should be accountable for their performance.
“Elected councillors will be more responsible in their duties,” said Ramakrishnan, who will also be a plaintiff in the suit.
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