PETALING JAYA: Local council elections should make a comeback, said local think-tank Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet).
Its co-president Gan Ping Sieu said during his stint as a Johor assemblyman in 2006, there were discussions in the then Barisan Nasional government to revive local council elections.
Gan said concerns were raised that some local elections would see certain ethnic groups dominating the situation.
“At that time, the conditions for bringing back the third vote were not conducive.
“But the fact that we had peaceful transitions at federal and state governments and the urgent need for government reforms across the board, the conditions are now quite mature and we should look into this,” he said at a press conference yesterday to unveil the results of Cenbet’s online survey on the people’s perception of public institutions which showed a 41% trust deficit for local authorities.
He also welcomed Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s announcement on carrying out preliminary studies on preparations for Selangor and Penang to hold local elections within three years.
“For a start, perhaps local elections could be implemented at the city and municipal levels first as district councils do not have sufficient revenue and are heavily dependent on state and federal aid,” Gan added.
Other public institutions polled in the survey titled “Do Malaysians Trust Public Institutions?” showed that the Federal Government recorded even a higher deficit level at 48%, along with politicians (45%) and local mainstream media (44%).
The survey was conducted via online interviews with 1,000 Malaysians across the country, aged 21 to 65, in February.
Overall, the survey showed 90% of the respondents were of the opinion that the Federal Government was in need of reforms.
“Our survey shows it is actually across the board and earlier perceptions that it was confined only to the Chinese are not true,” said Gan.
To a question as to why the survey results were not made known earlier, he said Cenbet still needed time to go through the statistical findings.
“We only looked into this after the elections,” he said, adding that the survey was not tailored for Barisan or Pakatan Harapan.
Gan said the findings would be presented to the newly-established Committee on Institutional Reforms.