Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when speaking to the Petaling DAP Liaison Committee meeting at Serdang Bahru new village on Tuesday, 17th Feb. 1981 at 8p.m.
DAP calls for elections to District and Municipal Council to replace appointed Councillors who have failed to provide efficient and responsive local government service whether in Serdang Bahru or throughout the country
When local government elections were first suspended in 1965, the reason given by the Government was because of the security situation created by the Indonesian Confrontation. But Indonesian Confrontation ended in 1966, and although 15 years have passed, there has been no restoration of local government elections.
The security situation in 1965 was just an excuse to provide the then Alliance Government the opportunity to achieve party political purposes, in the same wat that in 1978, the Barisan Nasional Government banned public rallies for the general elections for its own party political objectives. At that time, the government claimed that the Parti Communist of Malaya was planning to celebrate its 30th anniversary and that there was likelihood of incidents throughout the country.
But the MCP 30th Anniversary has come and gone, and public rallies are still banned, even got by-elections – unless the Government wants the people to believe that the MCP is still celebrating its 30th Anniversary since 1981!
The local and municipal council elections have been abolished not because of Indonesian Confrontation or security, but simply because the UMNO-MCA-MIC members have no other way of getting in these councils.
If local and municipal council elections are held, then the Barisan Nasional parties would be decisively defeated, and the overwhelming majority of the Municipalities and District Councils would be run by the DAP. This is what the Barisan Nasional does not want, and for its own party political ends has decided to destroy grass-roots democracy.
When the Barisan Nasional introduced the appointive system, Barisan leaders boasterd as to how an appointed system could provide more efficient and responsive local government service to the people.
Events have now shown, not only in Serdang Bahru but throughout the country, that appointed local, district and Municipal Councillors are a failure, and have failed to provide the basic efficient and responsive local government service which the people have a right to except.
Serdang Bahru and Serdang Lama are very good examples. One of the basic services which the local District Council should provide is to ensure local health, hygiene and sanitation by a efficient system of removal of refuse and keeping the district clean as in clearing drains to prevent their become serious health hazards. Even such a simple and basic service, the District Council has failed in Serdang Bahru and Serdang Lama.
This is because the District Councillors are appointed not because of their public spiritedness, sense of service of merit but because of their party affiliation, As they owe their appointment to their party labels and not to the people, they do not have the respond to the legitimate aspirations and needs of the people. This makes them irresponsible in every sense of the word.
The DAP calls for the elections to be restored for the District and Municipal Councils as the appointive system has failed to provide the efficient and responsive local government service to the people in the country.