PETALING JAYA: An Umno minister said that local council elections being mooted by DAP could lead to greater racial polarisation.
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (pic), in responding to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s view on the racial polarisation and the risk of May 13, hoped that DAP could learn from history and understand the complexities.
“It is a known fact that Malaysians are still largely voting based on their racial background and this will be evident in local government elections.
“This will happen in urban settings as well as rural local authorities, and will lead to racial animosity and distrust.
“I hope DAP could learn from history and understand the complexities,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page, Saturday.
Rahman said there were several advantages to appointing instead of electing local government officials, among them being the ability to replace ineffective officials immediately without waiting for the next election.
The other advantage was seamless administration of both state governments and local governments.
“A good example of this is during the massive flood recently.
“In some countries, because local authorities are elected through elections, they have jurisdiction in terms of natural calamities, which could hamper the ability of the federal or state governments to step in immediately.
“In those countries, a declaration of emergency by the Federal Government is needed before assistance can be extended to the areas under local government authority.
“This leads to a delay and slow response to disasters such as massive floods,” the Umno supreme council member added.
Hadi said on Friday that DAP’s push for local council elections in Penang could widen the racial divide in Chinese-majority urban areas and eventually lead to race riots similar to May 13, 1969.
The PAS president accused his DAP allies of only considering political victory and economic domination for a single party in a multi-racial society.
However, Selangor DAP committee member Ng Tien Chee immediately refuted Hadi’s claims, stating that local council elections were intended to revive the right of democracy and to improve the efficiency of the local authorities.
Ng denied that it would widen the economic gap between the rural and urban population.