Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Group hits out at Penang government - The Star

PETALING JAYA: April 30, 2008

Fifty-five civil society groups have described the appointment of councillors by the Penang government as “undemocratic and non-transparent, and lacking public consultation.”

The Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) said in a statement here that the appointments “did not meet the principles, criteria and processes of political appointment.”

“The CGG is disappointed with the Penang state government which appointed to local authority councils over 36 politically-partisan members, whose qualifications as community leaders or distinguished achievers are unclear.

“Further, amongst the small contingent of seven non-partisan representatives, the over-representation of commercial interests (five members) vis-à-vis non-commercial non-governmental organisations (two members) is completely unacceptable.

“We urge the state governments of Selangor, Perak and Kedah not to follow the example set by the Penang state government,” it said.

CGG said it was further concerned with certain statements by some Pakatan Rakyat politicians that local authority council elections could only be held with the approval from the Federal Government.

“Notwithstanding any possible opposition from the Federal Government due to Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 that abolished local government elections, there is considered legal opinion that state governments nonetheless have the authority to exclude areas within their jurisdiction from the application of the Local Government Act 1976.

“This could be achieved by passing a state enactment to that effect, and gazetting the same. This would pave the way for local authority council elections to take place,” the statement said.

“The CGG therefore calls upon the state governments of Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan to proceed to launch their respective roadmaps for the bringing into effect of elections for local authority councils.

“The enabling conditions and structures should be in place by no later than 2010. In this way, local authority council elections may take place by 2011,” said CGG.

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