Malaysia's DPM sees local govt polls as push for autonomy

Malaysia's DPM sees local govt polls as push for autonomy
Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

PUTRAJAYA - The Penang state government has been asked if holding local government elections could lead to an increase in taxes such as raising assessment rates and licensing fees.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said reinstating local elections could mean the state government was pushing for autonomy as the Federal Government would not be providing financial assistance.

"Does that mean that the state government wants to be autonomous and raise its own funds?

"That is impractical because most of the local authorities are in deficit and without the financial assistance from the Federal Government, they will continue to be in deficit," he said.

Speaking to reporters after chairing Monday's special committee meeting on Cameron Highlands, Muhyiddin said only a handful of local authorities with city status were financially sound.

He said local elections could lead to politicking and affect unity as there would be a lack of balance in racial representation.

DAP has called for local government elections to be reintroduced but the proposal has been snubbed by its Pakatan Rakyat partner PAS, with party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang claiming that such elections could lead to a repeat of the May 13 riots.

Muhyiddin said the opposing stand between the two parties showed that the idea of having local elections was not suitable to be practised in the country.

"There are certain implications if the local government elections are brought back.

"There is already a (court) decision that the elections cannot be held and I think it (not holding the elections) must remain," he said.

In August, the Federal Court consisting of a five-man panel unanimously dismissed the Penang state government's petition to reinstate the third vote.

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