Home Coalitions Clean and Fair Elections Pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan bukan isu perkauman (Malay/English)

Pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan bukan isu perkauman (Malay/English)

Voters casting their ballots enthusiastically at Penang Forum 3's experimental local council poll in 2010

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Oleh Faisal Aziz

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Isu pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan sering dilihat panas apabila ia sering dilihat dari sisi perkauman.

Mana tidaknya, secara sejarah ia dikaitkan dengan insiden-insiden yang dianggap mengganggu kestabilan politik negara khususnya pada era 1960-an yang akhirnya membawa kepada pergantungan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan pada tahun 1965, seterusnya dihentikan pada tahun 1976, apabila kerajaan menggubal Akta Kerajaan Tempatan menyebabkan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan dimansuhkan.

Kekhuatiran ini timbul bila mana kawasan bandar sering dikaitkan dengan kawasan yang didominasi secara besar oleh kaum Cina seolah kaum Melayu akan hilang kuasa mentadbir bandar.

Saya fikir dalam konteks semasa, demografi bandar sudah tidak sama dengan tahun 1960-an memandangkan pada zaman tersebut kita mewarisi barah pecah dan perintah yang ditinggalkan penjajah Inggeris yang sengaja membiarkan kaum Cina berada di bandar, Melayu di kampung dan India di ladang getah.

Melihat kepada banci penduduk 2020 yang dikeluarkan oleh Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur mencatat jumlah penduduk Melayu sejumlah 41.5%, Cina 36.2%, India 8.9% dan lain-lain 1.1% (bukan warganegara 12.3%).

Justeru di Kuala Lumpur sendiri hari ini populasinya adalah berbilang kaum dengan catatan kaum Melayu sebagai kaum teramai.

Melihat ke hadapan, dengan trend pertambahan jumlah kelahiran kaum Melayu yang tinggi, kadar peratus Melayu di Kuala Lumpur dijangka mencecah 50%.

Justeru, melihat kepada perangkaan ini, sudah pasti mana-mana pihak yang berminat meletakkan calon untuk pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan di Kuala Lumpur akan mempertimbang untuk meletakkan calon utama dari kaum Melayu.

Projek perbandaran yang rancak dijalankan hari ini juga melihat perkembangan yang sama apabila kawasan-kawasan bandar baru banyak diduduki oleh orang Melayu. Contoh klasik adalah projek perbandaran bandar-bandar baru seperti Shah Alam, Bangi, selain Putrajaya dan lain-lain.

Namun, kita tidak boleh memandang ringan kekhuatiran yang dibangkitkan oleh mana-mana pihak. Justeru, kita harus berlapang dada untuk mempertimbang dan mendengar pandangan mereka dalam masa sama cuba untuk meredakan kebimbangan yang diutarakan agar manfaat utama dari pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan ini dapat dijelmakan.

Justeru pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan harus dicadangkan untuk dilaksanakan secara berperingkat dengan ada projek perintis (pilot project) supaya kesan dan manfaatnya benar-benar dapat dirasai oleh rakyat.

READ MORE:  Democratic polls needed at all local levels and Senate for genuine people’s representation

Namun pada masa sama, kita harus akui pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan bukan semata-mata jalan penyelesaian kerana isu-isu melingkari penduduk yang terkait hari ini begitu kompleks.

Ini termasuk dengan senario penduduk yang mempunyai autonomi sendiri dalam menyelesaikan isu-isu setempat seperti badan pengurusan bersama di rumah pangsa yang sama sekali berbeza dengan sistem lama.

Walau bagaimanapun kita tidak boleh nafikan kebaikan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan kerana pilinan raya ini akan memberdaya suara rakyat dalam membawa isu setempat selain memastikan peningkatan nilai kebertanggungjawaban pihak berkuasa untuk menyelesaikan isu tempatan.

Ia juga secara tidak langsung akan meringankan kerja ahli parlimen dan ahli dewan undangan negeri yang sebelum ini terpaksa menyelesaikan semua isu setempat melibatkan sampah sarap, longkang tersumbat dan sebagainya, sedangkan tugas mereka adalah untuk menggubal serta menyemak undang-undang dan dasar penting negara.

Selain itu, pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan ini sebenarnya memberi manfaat kepada parti politik yang mempunyai akar umbi yang kuat termasuk di luar bandar sekiranya pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan ini diluaskan.

Dalam portal rasmi Kementerian Pembangunan Kerajaan Tempatan merekodkan terdapat sebanyak 149 buah pihak berkuasa tempatan termasuk Kuala Lumpur iaitu 12 buah dewan atau majlis bandaraya, 39 buah majlis perbandaran dan 98 buah majlis daerah.

Pilihan raya tempatan akan menghidupkan kesedaran politik dalam kalangan masyarakat di sesebuah lokaliti.

Melalui undian, wakil dalam pihak berkuasa tempatan yang dipilih semasa pilihan raya bertanggungjawab sepenuhnya terhadap rakyat. Ini kerana rakyat akan menilai kemampuan wakil yang diundi dalam tempoh tertentu sebelum pilihan raya berikutnya diadakan.

Justeru, parti-parti politik yang ingin membina pengaruh di bandar akan menumpukan perhatian pada hal ehwal pengurusan perbandaran serta daerah dan membina pengaruh sebagai persediaan untuk memenangi pilihan raya umum.

Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz ialah pengerusi Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih)

English version

Avoid looking at local government elections from a racial perspective

By Faisal Aziz

The issue of local government elections has always been racialised and made a sensitive topic.

Historically, local government elections have been linked with incidents of unrest related to the nation’s political stability, especially in the 1960s. This eventually led to the suspension of local government elections in the year 1965, and consequently, its abolishment in 1976, as a result of the enactment of the Local Government Act 1976.

READ MORE:  Democratic polls needed at all local levels and Senate for genuine people’s representation

Concerns arise that there are urban areas whose populations are more dominated by those of Chinese ethnicity, leading to the suggestion that those of Malay ethnicity would lose political power in cities or urban areas.

In my view, in today’s context, urban demographics have changed considerably since the 1960s, when we had inherited the concept of divide and rule that was left behind by British colonialists who deliberately let the Chinese settle down in the cities, the Malays in the villages and the Indians in the rubber plantations.

According to the 2020 population census released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, those of Malay ethnicity made up 41.5% of the population in Kuala Lumpur, those of Chinese ethnicity 36.2%, those of Indian ethnicity 8.9% while those of other ethnicities made up 1.1% (the remaining 12.3% were non-citizens).

This data shows that there is ethnic diversity in the population of Kuala Lumpur, with the Malays forming the most populous ethnic group.

Looking forward, as the population of the Malays continues to grow, the Malays are set to become more than 50% of the urban population.

With these statistics in mind, it is quite certain that whoever is interested in nominating a candidate for a local government election would be sure to consider prioritising a candidate who is of Malay ethnicity.

The increase in frequency of urbanisation projects has also seen developments of a similar nature in newer urban areas that are populated primarily by the Malays. Classic examples of this include urbanisation projects in newer cities like Shah Alam, Bangi and Putrajaya.

However, we cannot belittle the concerns that may be raised by other parties. In order to make local government elections a reality, we need to be considerate and open to hearing the voices of other parties and individuals.

Local government elections need to be re-implemented by stages through a pilot project, so that the benefits of a local government are better shared with and experienced by the people.

READ MORE:  Democratic polls needed at all local levels and Senate for genuine people’s representation

However, at this stage, having local government elections is not the only solution because the issues surrounding the people within each locality today are complex.

As an example, the people have the autonomy to resolve local issues through the joint management body for apartments, which is different from the old system.

Yet, local government elections are still beneficial because they empower the people to voice out their concerns and hold the relevant local authorities accountable.

Local government elections will also ease the burdens of fellow MPs or state assembly members, who have, to this day, been forced to deal with local problems and concerns that involve, for example, littering and clogged drains. As lawmakers, MPs and state assembly members should be focused on their tasks of enacting laws and important national policies.

At the same time, local government elections are also beneficial to political parties that have strong roots, especially in suburban areas and towns, if the scope of these local government elections are broadened.

The official Ministry of Local Government Development website records as many as 149 local governments, including Kuala Lumpur, which includes 12 city councils or city halls, 39 town councils and 98 district councils.

Local government elections will help to spread political awareness among society within a locality.

Through the vote of the people, the elected representatives of a local government become fully responsible to the people in that locality. This is because the people will assess the ability of these elected representatives to exercise their responsibilities within the duration of the representatives’ term before the following election.

As such, political parties who wish to expand their influence in the urban areas will focus their attention on managing local town or district council affairs in order to build their influence as preparation for competing in the next general election. This will motivate and incentivise politicians to work harder to serve the people.

Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz is chairperson of the Coalition for Clean & Fair Elections (Bersih)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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