In response to the Penang state government's historic decision to restore local council elections, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on March 9 made it clear that his BN government would not agree with and accede to the request.
The Election Commission 's yesterday's decision and explanation with regard to both the Penang and Selangor state governments' requests to hold local government elections is somewhat expected but still very disappointing.
While the two Pakatan Rakyat state governments will have to find ways to restore the voters their third vote, Malaysians must again be reminded not to forget history -- that the Alliance Government did not honour its solemn pledge to return local government elections.
The Alliance Government had in 1965 suspended local council elections on the ground of the Indonesian Confrontation threat.
The then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman gave a solemn pledge that the moment peace returned, local government elections would be restored.
But when the Confrontation had ended, the suspended elections were never restored and were instead later abolished.
All Malaysians who cherish democracy must therefore not forget history -- that the Alliance Government failed to honour its solemn pledge to return local government elections.
Local government election is part and parcel of a true, healthy and vibrant democracy. There can be no justification whatsoever for the BN government not to return the people’s right to third vote.
If Najib is not convinced that majority of Malaysians want the local government elections restored, then I challenge the government to hold a national referendum and let the people decide on whether such election should be restored.