Opposition-led states can be ‘labs,’ says analyst

  • Nation
  • Monday, 31 Mar 2008

PENANG: The five Opposition-led states can become “laboratories” for political experiments.

Political analyst and Monash University journalism lecturer Wong Chin Huat said Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak and Selangor were in a comfortable position to introduce institutional reforms through their state governments or members of parliament.

“Some of the things that can be pushed for are local elections, the Royal Commission of electoral reform, press freedom and the Equal Employment Enactment,” he said at the Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) talk Where is Democratisation of Malaysia Heading Towards? last night.

Wong said local elections, serving as “mid-terms” in between general elections, would enable the state administration to reach across party consensus.

“Voters in different moods will vote in a different composition of people, rather than people from the same party.

“This will provide the check and balance needed in the state administration,” he said.

Wong, who is also Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami) chairman, said the Penang Government should be committed to introducing local elections.

He also urged the new ruling state governments not to alienate the losing parties.

“Barisan Nasional should be treated nicely for it to be the new Opposition,” he said, also urging the people to develop a cautious attitude towards the new ruling government and spell out their demands clearly.

Another speaker, Aliran exco member and blogger Anil Netto said the people’s involvement in the electoral process had increased in the 2008 general election compared with 2004.

“The people must get involved after this through petitions, memorandums and suggestion letters, instead of handing everything over to the politicians.

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