LETTER | I think since we have been denied local government elections for 54 years (since 1964) we should understand where the world has moved on to and we cannot merely dust off and reactivate our 1964-era laws.
With that in mind, a quick look shows that Britain in 1969 enacted the Representation of the People Act by which any citizen, male or female, aged over 18, was eligible to vote.
And that was 49 years ago. We are still limited to age 21 for parliamentary and state elections today.
Next, according to PBS.org (Public Broadcasting Service, US), a total of 744 million people in 22 countries make voting compulsory and the voting age is 18 in all but three of them. Exceptions are Nauru (age 21) Lebanon (age 20) and Singapore (age 21 too).
Next, in 2012, England and Wales began to have elected police and crime commissioners.
A police and crime commissioner (PCC) is an elected official in England and Wales charged with securing efficient and effective policing of a police area for four-year terms.
We Malaysians have been promised an independent commission to oversee the police but do the police still have the power to block this? Perhaps the PCC, as an elected official invested with the necessary authority, will be able to achieve more in his or her four-year term? And if not, he or she could be replaced by a popular vote the next time around.
It’s time the rakyat are recognised for the exemplary manner in which the first change of government was accomplished on May 9 by restoring to them not just the 1964 local government elections but a completely modern one that recognises how much has changed in the last 54 years.
In short, let these elections be open to all eligible citizens above the age of 18 and let us vote for all town and city councillors with separate elections for mayors or municipal presidents and the new, highly-significant positions of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) - all to be nominated on one ballot paper at one election.
Such enhancements that truly empower citizens is an excellent way for Pakatan Harapan to devolve responsibility for choosing those who would govern us, down to the ordinary Johan Rakyat who is the end consumer of all the services provided through the local governments and the police.
This is a marvellous way for Harapan to truly recognise and reward all the citizens who gave them such incredible trust and to send a powerful message to those that didn’t.
Hopefully, this will resonate at GE15 in 2023.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
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