Strengthen the role of Powers of the Local Authorities
In April 2018, Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin stated that the government is still working on the mechanisms for the implementation of local government elections. The Ministry will submit the local government election plan to the Cabinet by the year 2021.
We would like to emphasize that the implementation of local council elections is an important policy shift. While we acknowledge that it was removed from the Pakatan Harapan manifesto in the 14th general elections, the subsequent commitment made by the Minister of Housing and Local Government shows that it is without a doubt an integral part of the reform agenda in relation to local authorities and it must be seriously pursued. It bears reiterating that it is vital for local council members to be elected by the people as they are the third and most basic level of governance who understand the needs and requirements of the local community much better than the Federal Government. Local councillors will not only provide checks and balances in the administration but also enable better community participation in the decision-making process. The third vote will improve governance at all levels, elevate integrity and accountability, enforce prudent public finance management as well as enhance public service delivery.
We note that the Ministry is currently holding various consultation process with stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and grassroot community leaders. This is indeed an important process to gather feedback and come out with a holistic plan for reforms and elections of the councillors.
Develop further the roles of local authority (PBT) including the City Councils
8 July 2019 – The Housing and Local Government Ministry is in the midst of preparing a Cabinet paper on the revival of local government elections. Its deputy minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad said that the Ministry hoped to present the paper by the end of the year.
1 May 2019 – The Housing and Local Government Ministry is expected to amend several laws in Parliament as early as the end of 2020 to reinstate local government elections, its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said.
She will also push for higher women participation as local councillors.
Ensure PBT achieve international services standards in carrying out their responsibilities
Use global agenda (such as the Sustainable Development Goals 2030) as the benchmark to improve PBT nationwide
Improve PBT’s accountability to the local community
Amend the local Government Act 1976
17 August 2019 – George Town, which was the first local authority to conduct local government elections in 1857, has been touted to be the place for the rebirth of municipal elections in the country. The state capital is among several local authorities shortlisted to hold the third tier polls once the proposal is approved by the cabinet. Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said Penang had expressed interest in carrying out the local election even when Pakatan Harapan was the opposition.
3 August 2019 – IT seems strange that Sarawak would see local council elections as an attempt by Putrajaya to take over local government administration in the state. In his speech, the Chief Minister said Sarawak’s right over its local government was enshrined in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Local civil society organisations will be given platforms to express their views directly in the PBT