PETALING JAYA,. Parti Warisan Sabah is bidding to restore local council elections in the state before the next general election, according to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.
In an interview with The Star newspaper, the Sabah local government and housing minister said his ministry will conduct a detailed study on the feasibility of reintroducing the so-called third vote.
“The time will come for the people to elect the local government in charge of administering their city. The people want to choose,” Jaujan said in the interview published today.
“For now we will be preparing towards this end and hope to implement local council elections within this term or the next five years.”
At the federal level, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said local council elections could be reintroduced within three years, with a study to be done within the next six months.
Jaujan said his ministry was also seeking federal approval to further decentralise power to lower rungs of the local government.
“Our immediate plan is to upgrade district councils by redistributing powers and functions away from the central authority.
“Currently, all the planning and decision making is done at the central level but we want to give district councils more power to plan and decide what is needed in their specific geographical area such as electricity and water supply,” he was quoted saying.
There are 24 local government authorities in Sabah.
Local council elections were suspended in 1964 at the height of Malaysia’s Confrontation with Indonesia, but were never restored. Instead, the government later amended the law to do away with the third vote entirely.