Aliran Monthly editor’s note 30: 4

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AM latest issueBring back local council elections! That’s the theme of Tan Pek Leng’s cover story exploring the quest to reclaim our democracy. If the Local Government Act stands in the way, then it must go, she says; it is not because we are lawless but because we value our democracy.

Actually, a team of legal experts has advised the Penang government that it is legally possible to hold local government elections, reports Francis Loh. The Penang government will now have to decide whether to seek a court declaration on the issue. 

The quest for democracy received a boost with the outcome of the Sibu by-election. Ngu Ik Tien interviews a couple of Sarawakians on the implications of the result. Before polling day, Ik Tien had correctly detected the shift in voter sentiment among ordinary Sibu residents who were seeking change.

Another milestone in the struggle was recorded in Penang, where a Speakers’ Square was launched on 4 May. Angeline Loh reports on the historic occasion while Toh Kin Woon describes it as a step forward. Another fairly new attraction in Penang has to be the ‘Asean community market’ in Komtar, where migrants from the region have set up a vibrant hive of community shops and local businesses.

The struggle for democratic space is also visible in the arts. CY interviews cartoonist extraordinaire Zunar, who hopes to generate more young artists who can shape history through their cartoons.  

But the world as we know it could be history if we don’t do something about global warming. Tissa Balasuriya calls on the various world religions to work together to prevent the crisis from getting worse.

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