“Genuine democracy must provide meaningful space for the people to express their views and to participate in various processes of daily administration and not merely to voting once in five years. All interest groups must be allowed to present and debate their views. Information will be freely available subject to strictly defined restrictions. To this end, we will pass the necessary legislation to provide for local council elections“ - Item 1 of Part B, entitled ‘Build A Genuine Democracy’, of The People’s Declaration.
The People’s Declaration was formally endorsed by DAP, PKR and PAS on 23rd February, 2008, just before the 12th General Elections, without any reservation. The 3 parties must therefore be taken to have agreed to the aspiration of the rakyat to restore local council elections. You can view the video evidence of this endorsement HERE.
“The other key electoral reform that PR pledges to implement relates to the revival of local elections. Local government forms the underpinning of democratic values and public accountability at the grassroots. On March 2, 1965, the then government suspended local government elections in the nation. Since then, it has consistently refused to restore local elections, knowing full well the anti-BN mood of the urban electorate. In the meantime, the present unelected form of local government established under BN rule has engaged in systemic wastage, mismanagement and corruption. PR pledges to reintroduce local government elections as a major step forward in curtailing the inefficiency, power abuse, mismanagement and corruption that is presently endemic in local governments” - as provided in the draft Common Policy Platform for Pakatan Rakyat, prepared by Zaid Ibrahim and presented to the leadership of DAP, PKR and PAS for their consideration.
You will note that the pledge incorporated into the Zaid draft is consistent with the declared aspiration of the rakyat as contained in The People’s Declaration.
“Keberkesanan amalan sistem demokrasi bergantung kepada keutuhan pelaksanaan doktrin pemisahan kuasa. Integriti sesebuah kerajaan bergantung kepada kebebasan, kebolehpercayaan dan kewibawaan institusi-institusi yang diamanahkan untuk menjamin keseimbangan antara cabang eksekutif, kehakiman dan legislatif. Pakatan Rakyat akan mengukuhkan demokrasi kerajaan tempatan dan meningkatkan kecekapan serta keberkesanan sistem penyampaian dan menjamin ketelusan di semua peringkat secara demokratik” – draft Common Policy Platform for Pakatan Rakyat, finalised by the drafting committee of the Pakatan Rakyat secretariat, for deliberation at the Pakatan Rakyat Convention on 19th December, 2009.
I shall be attending the Convention to hear first hand the rationale why the drafting committee of the Pakatan Rakyat secretariat has dropped the pledge, as proposed in the Zaid draft, to restore local council elections, from the Common Policy Platform for Pakatan Rakyat.
I also want to see for myself whether Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives who have assured me that they will be rasing the matter of the restoration of local council elections at the Convention, in fact walk their talk.