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Thursday D-Day on local elections

Rama (right) - Photograph: The Malaysian Insider

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The Federal Court will decide on a petition filed by the Penang government on Thursday, reports Free Malaysia Today.

Rama (right) - Photograph: The Malaysian Insider
Rama (right) – Photograph: The Malaysian Insider

Update: Unfortunately, the Federal Court ruled against local government elections.

The Federal Court in Putrajaya will make a landmark decision this Thursday (13 August) on whether or not Penang can hold local government elections.

The Election Commission (EC) and the Federal government are respondents to a petition filed by former Aliran president P Ramakrishnan in March last year on behalf of the Penang state government.

Ramakrishnan filed the petition after the EC turned down a state government request in a letter dated 18 December 2012 to conduct local elections in the state. This was after the state assembly had passed the Local Government Elections Enactment (Penang Island and Seberang) 2012, which was gazetted on 5 July 2012.

The EC has always maintained that holding the polls would contravene a ban imposed through the Local Government Act (LGA) 1976.

In the petition, the state government sought a declaration that Section 15 of the LGA, which bans local polls, was null and void or not enforceable in Penang.

It also sought a declaration that the state enactment regarding local polls was legitimate.

A five-man Federal Court panel heard submissions in the case last 9 April.

At a press conference here (on 11 August), state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said if Thursday’s decision was in favour of the state government, the court would order the EC to conduct local elections in Penang.

If the court were to decide against the state, it would be the end of the matter from a legal perspective, he added.

“Either way it will be a landmark decision.”

He said if the petition was dismissed, DAP would carry out a political campaign aimed at restoring local elections.

Chow also announced that the Housing and Local Government Ministry would soon table a Cabinet paper seeking approval for upgrading the status of the Penang Island Municipal Council so that it would become Penang Island City Council.

A mayor would replace the position of council president if the proposal is approved.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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