Sunday, August 05, 2018

How much do we need to spend to conduct a nationwide local government elections?

Media statement by PH-DAP ADUN for Banting, Selangor LAU Weng San on 5th August 2018 in Banting:

I am concerned with the parliamentary replies given by the Minister for Housing and Local Government, YB Zuraidah Kamaruddin on 31st July that the federal government will not conduct local government elections for the next three years in view of the huge expenses that may be incurred.

Zuraidah’s reply was separated into two, first there was a reply that the government needs further studies on all related legal provisions on local government election in order to facilitate and remove all hindrances to the smooth operation of it. Secondly, that the government could not conduct such elections in three years to come in view of the huge expenses likely to be incurred at times when the federal government is facing financial difficulties.

Perhaps it will be good if the Minister can explain that besides the abolishing s.15 of the 1976 Local Government Act and reviving the 1960 Local Government Election Acts, what other major legal hindrances that the federal government must overcome in order to conduct such elections

As to the second issue, which is related to the costs in running such elections, it is material for the Minister to explain as to what are the estimated total cost in running such election? SPR spent roughly some RM500 million for the just-concluded GE14 and in 2016, SPR spent some RM140 million for the Sarawak State Election. Do we need to spend about the same amount for a nation-wide local government elections?

Another food for thought, if the federal government is indeed facing financial difficulty in conducting local elections, is that the government can consider to share the cost with various state government. The huge expenses incurred for the 2016 Sarawak State Election may not be relevant to state like Selangor or Penang as the two states are relatively smaller and more advanced in terms of communication and physical infrastructure.

Moreover, the two states also have a long standing history of supporting local government elections since 2008. I personally wish that local government elections can still be conducted in certain states in Malaysia within one year from now by doing away a nation-wide local government election, if costs is of major concern to the federal government.

This will be helpful in realizing another major electoral promises pledged by Pakatan Harapan during GE14 and it will pave the road to a smoother nation-wide elections in future. It is my hope that this suggestion can be given due consideration by the leadership.

Lau Weng San.

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