Current Affairs

DAP flays BN Minister for citing racial issues as a stumbling block for local elections

(pic of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Abdul Rahman, from FMT)

(pic of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Abdul Rahman, from FMT)

An opposition leader has called for a minister to be reprimanded in the Cabinet meeting today for stating that local government elections would lead to worse racial polarisation.

DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang said this of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who said that Malaysians still vote based on race and would lead to “racial animosity”.

“This is the first time in 50 years that any Barisan Nasional minister has taken the ridiculous and outrageous stand that the holding of local government elections would lead to greater racial polarisation – or even risks the repeat of May 13 race riots, as stated by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang which has received the support of top UMNO leaders,” Lim said in a statement today.

When responding to DAP’s push to restore local elections, Abdul Rahman had said that Malaysians were still voting based on racial background, and there was a risk of greater racial polarization if it were brought back.

Abdul Rahman echoed a similar opposition to local elections as voiced out by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang, who said that that it may lead to a repeat of the May 13 1969 riots.

Instead of saying that another May 13 would happen, Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying that race based voting would “lead to racial animosity and distrust”.

Lim said even when the opposition government in Penang pushed for local council elections back in March 2010, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s rejection of it did not reference “racial polarisation” or“imbalanced racial representation”. Najib had said instead said that reviving local government, elections would only give rise to politicking at the local government level which would not improve on its delivery to the people.

“Abdul Rahman’s argument that local government elections would promote “racial animosity and distrust” must be slapped down hard by the Cabinet today, as local government is not about racial politics but about promoting a better quality of life for all ratepayers with safe, efficient and pleasant living environment for all, regardless of race or religion,” added Lim.

He also opined that the BN government’s suspension of local council elections was due to lack of confidence of the ruling regime to secure seats in the council.

“It is most shocking that 50 years after the suspension/abolition of local government elections, the issue of race has now been injected as a new factor as to why there should not be a restoration of the third vote.”

“If such a reason could be accepted, then it could be extended to the suspension/abolition of State Assembly and Parliamentary elections, resulting in the death of democracy in Malaysia!” he said. -The Rocket

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