No-go for local council polls

THE Perikatan Nasional government is not in favour of holding local council elections, says Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Zuraida’s revelation comes less than a month after she had told lawmakers in Dewan Rakyat that a comprehensive study was still underway to determine if local council elections could be held in the near future.

She said this while responding to a suggestion by Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin (BN-Rompin).

Hasan suggested that local councils have their own assembly hall to conduct full council meetings and to invite various organisations as observers.

“Your suggestion is very good and it is some of the small steps that local councils can take to promote democracy, seeing that the Perikatan Nasional government will not be holding local government elections.

“I feel that it’s right as it’s too drastic a move for society to accept and local councils to hold local elections,” she said in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Earlier, Zuraida said 16 local councils had implemented livestreaming of council meetings.

On July 14, Zuraida told lawmakers that findings on local council elections would be brought to the Cabinet and Parliament for approval by mid-2021.

Besides amending laws for that purpose, she said it would cost about RM308mil to hold elections for all 154 local authorities.

Zuraida’s previous announcement drew flak from several Perikatan lawmakers.

Among them was Tan Sri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong) who chided Zuraida for pushing ahead with a Pakatan Harapan manifesto on local council elections.

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