The Election Commission Should Recognise that the Local Government Elections Act 1960 (Act 473) Has Been Revised in 1991 and Constitutes the Sole and Only Proper Law Relating to the Election of Local Councillors(en/cn)

The Election Commission (EC) should recognise that the Local Government Elections Act 1960 (Act 473) has been revised in 1991 and constitutes the sole and only proper law relating to the election of local councillors. For this reason, the Penang state government is taking a progressive step-by-step approach towards removing all legal impediments preventing the conduct of local government elections by the EC.

One of the steps that is being taken is the instruction by the Penang State Government to the Penang State Legal Adviser to issue a gazette notification exempting local authorities in Penang from section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 as a precursor to seeking a court declaration to compel the Election Commission to conduct local government elections.

The EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has said that he is confused by the Penang State Government’s intention to bring to the Courts the issue of the State’s right to ask the Election Commission to conduct local government elections to the local authorities in Penang. On 4 March 2010, I wrote to the Election Commission asking it to conduct local government elections to the MPPP and MPSP exercising the state powers under Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution, but the Election Commission also refused. Article 113(4) states,
“Federal or State law may authorise the Election Commission to conduct election other than those referred to in Clause (1).”
On 12 March 2010, I also wrote to the Prime Minister offering to meet with him to discuss the State Government’s position but again received no response.

I can confirm that the EC Chairman wrote a long letter to me on 23 March 2010 setting out the Federal Government’s claim that local government elections are not possible because section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) had caused the Local Government Elections Act to be of no force and effect. This is the very reason why the state government is gazetting notification exempting local authorities in Penang from section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976

The EC Chairman and the Federal Government have also sidestepped the crux of this issue, namely that the Local Government Elections Act was never repealed and was in fact revised in 1991. According to section 10(2) of the Revision of Laws Act 1968 (Act 1), a revised law “shall be deemed to be and shall be without any question whatsoever in all courts and for all purposes whatsoever the sole and only proper law in respect of matters included in it and in force on that date”.

Clearly the Local Government Elections Act clearly authorises the EC to conduct elections to local authorities in Malaysia. It is therefore perplexing that the EC Chairman continues to refuse to conduct local government elections in Penang. As the EC is the only legal authority that is empowered to conduct local government elections, the Penang state government has no choice but to seek a court declaration to compel the EC to abide and obey the Penang state government’s directives.

LIM GUAN ENG

—Mandarin Translation —-

槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年2月2日在光大发表声明:

选举委员会应该1960地方政府选举法令已于1991年修订,并指定它为举行市议员选举的唯一适用的法律。

选举委员会应该1960地方政府选举法令已于1991年修订,并指定它为举行市议员选举的唯一适用的法律。因此,槟州政府正采取积极的步骤,扫除所有阻止选委会举办地方选举的法律障碍。

其中一项步骤就是槟州政府指示州法律顾问在宪报上公布,让槟州的地方政府免于遵守1976年地方政府法令第15条文,首开先例,申请庭令,迫使指示选委会举行地方政府。

选委会丹斯里阿都阿兹说,对于槟州政府要就行使州权限、指示选委会举办地方政府选举的问题带上法庭,他对州政府的用意感到混淆。在2010年3月4日,我曾写信给选委会,行使宪法第113(4)条文赋予州政府的权利,要求他为槟岛市政局及威省市政局举办地方政府选举,但是选委会却拒绝我的要求。宪法第113(4)条文阐明:“联邦或州法律可以授权选委会举行选举,项目(1)所列明的除外。”

2010年3月12日,我也写信给首相,要求与他见面,商讨州政府的立场,但是,也是不了了之。

我可以确认,选举委员会主席在2010年3月23日,写了一封很长信的给我,说明联邦政府声称不可能举办地方选举,因为1976年地方政府法令第15条文已经让地方政府法令宣判无效。这也是为什么州政府要在宪报上公布,让槟州的地方政府免于遵守1976年地方政府法令第15条文。

选委会主席及联邦政府也忽略了这项课题的症结,那就是地方政府选举法令从来没有被废除,反而曾在1991年修订过。根据1968年法令修正法第10(2)条文,一项修订后的法令,“应该被视为,同时不应被任何法庭、任何目的质疑它做为有关事项的唯一适用法律,并在当天生效。”

很明显地,地方政府法令授权选委会为马来西亚地方政府举行地方选举。因此,针对选委会主席继续拒绝在槟州举办地方政府选举,槟州选举别无选择,只好申请庭令,迫使选委会遵守槟州政府的指示。

林冠英

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