December 30, 2008 23:46 PM
IPOH, Dec 30 (Bernama) — Ten civil society groups have urged the Perak government to endorse the mock elections for new village heads.
The groups are Centre for Independent Journalism, Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Civil Society Initiative for Parlimentary Reform, Community Development Centre, Network of Oppressed People, Youth and Student Democratic Movement of Malaysia, Community Awareness Association of Selangor, Selangor and Federal Territories Community Association, Voice of Malaysian People and Writers Alliance for Media Independence.
“The Perak state government must now explain to the public its about-turn as what exact technical difficulties have prevented village head elections in the new villages,” they said in joint statement Tuesday.
They said there were no reasons why the state government should ‘prohibit’ village head elections and insist on appointment for 134 Chinese new villages while all the 817 traditional villages had their elections earlier this year.
They said if the state government was sincerely committed to local democracy, it should assist the innovative efforts of two state assemblymen — Chan Ming Kai and Chang Lih Kang — to nominate the elected candidates for official appointment.
The mock elections could serve as a pilot study to identify the technical difficulties before running full-scale elections, they said.
“Instead of seeing the duo as defying the state government decision, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and senior Executive Council members would do their government and parties a great service by endorsing the move and dissuading any petty attempts of boycotting.
“They should remember all three Pakatan Rakyat parties have endorsed the People’s Declaration which promises to re-introduce local elections so that local leaders can be made accountable,” they said.
On Monday, Nizar hit out at the two Parti Keadilan Rakyat elected representatives who went ahead with the election of Gunung Rapat new village chiefs on Sunday.
The state Executive Council had earlier decided that the chiefs of new villages should be appointed and not elected and their appointments would be made from next month.