Want to become a Penang municipal councillor?

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Penang-based civil society groups are holding a day-long event known as Penang Forum 3 to elect civil society nominees to serve as MPPP and MPSP councillors for 2011. It is the start of a journey towards full local government elections.

The crowd at Penang Forum 2 in March 2010

Penang Forum is happy to announce Penang Forum 3, to be held at the Penang Chinese Girls School  Alumni Hall (directly opposite St Nicholas), along Jalan Bagan Jermal on Sunday, 14 November from 9.00 am – 3.00 pm.

Penang Forum 3 is being held to elect civil society nominees to serve as MPPP and MPSP councillors for 2011. We will elect five nominees for each of the councils. The names will be forwarded to the State Government for appointment.

We are therefore inviting nominees from Penang residents to stand for the elections. We also invite the public to attend the forum on 14 November and participate in the electoral process.

Why are we doing this? Because elected local representation is a cornerstone of local government and local democracy. Municipal (local) government elections used to be part of our democratic process until they were suspended in 1965 by the federal Alliance government. Since then, local councillors have been political appointees. In 2008, the new PR state governments appointed a few NGO representatives as part of their election promises which included bringing back local elections.

Penang Forum is calling for competent, honest and independent representation at the municipal government level – the third tier of government and crucially, the one closest to the people. Pending the full re-introduction of local elections (which is a basic right of all Malaysians), the process to be followed in Penang Forum 3 is at least a small step forward in establishing a more transparent and accountable process of councillor appointments.

We are therefore calling for people who are looking for a change in the political culture, one based on the principles expressed in Penang Forum’s original Declaration of April 2008, to present themselves as nominees for election. Nominees would be expected to speak up for the principles in the Penang Forum Declaration, promote the rights of marginalized groups in society, be ready to address and respond to urban services complaints, read and speak in Bahasa Malaysia and would need to have significant time to give to the responsibilities of being a councillor.

We are inviting people who want to stand to submit their nominations to us by 29 October. Each nomination should include a proposer and a seconder.

We look forward to a lively and exciting Penang Forum 3, part of the process of bringing back true local democracy to Penang!

To register for the forum (closing date 11 November): Please email aliran (at) streamyx (dot) com or phone Aliran at 658 5251 during office hours, Tuesday to Saturday. Registration fee will be collected on the day of the forum.

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To submit your nomination (closing date 29 October): Please send your nomination form to Penang Forum 3, c/o Aliran, 103 Medan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Penang
or you can fax it to (04)6585197

……………………………………………………

Invitation to Penang Forum 3: Elections to determine civil society nominees to serve as MPPP and MPSP Councillors for 2011

Date: Sunday, 14 November
Venue: Penang Chinese Girls School Alumni Hall (directly opposite St Nicholas), along Jalan Bagan Jermal.
Time: 9.00 am – 3.00 pm
Registration: RM10 (vegetarian lunch/tea provided) (RM5 for students)

Rationale

Elected local representation is a cornerstone of local government and local democracy. Municipal (local) government elections used to be part of our democratic process until they were suspended in 1965 by the federal Alliance government. Since then, local councillors have been political appointees. In 2008, the new PR state governments appointed a few NGO representatives as part of their election promises which included bringing back local elections.

Penang Forum is committed to helping bring back local elections to Penang to promote democracy, transparency and accountability. Pending that, Penang Forum would like to see a more transparent appointment of civil society’s representatives in MPPP and MPSP and is asking that for 2011, there be five civil society councillors appointed for Penang Island and another five for Seberang Prai.

We are calling Penang Forum 3 to elect nominees for these positions.

You are invited to participate in this process by:

1) either standing as a candidate in the elections that would determine civil society’s representatives to serve as MPPP and MPSP councillors for 2011
2) or voting in the elections on 14 November.

Call for Nominations

To have the election of civil society representatives in the local councils, we need candidates!

We need competent, honest and independent representation at the municipal government level – the one closest to the people. We hope for people who are looking for a change in the political culture, one based on the principles expressed in Penang Forum’s original Declaration of April 2008 (attached).

So we are calling for nominations!

Nominees

Under the Local Government Act 1976, Section 10(2): “Councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from amongst persons the majority of whom shall be persons ordinarily resident in the local authority area who in the opinion of the State Authority have wide experience in local government affairs or who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local authority area.”

To be eligible, nominees would need to meet the following criteria:

  • They must be Malaysian citizens resident in Penang,
  • They must support the principles in the Penang Forum Declaration,
  • They must promote the rights of marginalised groups in society,
  • They must be ready to address and respond to urban services complaints,
  • They must be able to read and speak in Bahasa Malaysia
  • They must have significant time to give to the responsibilities of being a councillor.
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If you are interested, you will need to fill a nomination form and have a proposer and a seconder ready. The form can be downloaded from the penangforum.net website here or picked up from the Aliran office.

Please submit your nominations to Penang Forum c/o Aliran by 29 October. This will allow us to prepare the ballot sheets and also allow you to prepare any leaflet or other material about yourself/your plans as a councillor, to distribute to participants at Penang Forum 3. All candidates will have a chance to speak to the Forum prior to the election!

All Penang residents are invited to participate in the Penang Forum 3 event/elections on 14 November.

PROGRAMME for Penang Forum 3

There will be two inputs before the nomination/election process. The first will provide a short history of the local elections, the structures of the MPPP and MPSP and the role of councillors within those structures. The second will be a discussion about what we expect from a councillor. Then we will invite those people who have put themselves forward as potential civil society nominees to say a few words. We will then have an election (of five nominees for MPPP and five for MPSP)! These names will be forwarded to the state government (YB Chow will be invited to the Forum) for appointment.

8.30 Registration

9.00 Short history of local elections (Dr Francis Loh), the structures of the MPPP and MPSP and the role of councillors within those structures (Lim Kah Cheng)

9.40 What NGOs expect from a councillor (Ahmad Chik)

10.00 Q & A

10.30 Break

10.45 Introduction of candidates

Candidates Speak! All nominees will be given a chance to address Penang Forum 3, time limit for each speaker depends on the number of candidates we have)

11.30 Q & A

12.30 Voting for Nominees Each participant will be given a ballot sheet listing all nominations, and will have a maximum of five votes, for Penang Island and Seberang Prai respectively (i.e. ten in all)

1.00 Lunch

2.00 Briefing on local plan (Lin Lee/Agatha Foo/Laurence Loh)

2.20 Q & A

2.30 Announcement of results! to be followed by a media conference (James/Anil/Jin Cheng/Chuan Yean) where successful candidates will be introduced to the media.

To register for the forum (closing date 11 November): Please email aliran (at) streamyx (dot) com or phone Aliran at 658 5251 during office hours, Tuesday to Saturday. Registration fee will be collected on the day of the forum.

To submit your nomination (closing date 29 October): Please send your nomination form to Penang Forum 3, c/o Aliran, 103 Medan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Penang
or you can fax it to (04)6585197

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Pengisytiharan Forum Pulau Pinang, 13 April 2008

Kepada: Kerajaan baru Negeri Pulau Pinang

Kami, NGO Pulau Pinang dan individu-individu yang berprihatin yang mengambil bahagian dalam Forum NGO Pulau Pinang pada 13hb April di Disted College, dengan ini, mengisytiharkan:

i.Kami mengucapkan tahniah kepada parti campuran Pakatan Rakyat atas kemenangan dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-12 dan mengalu-alukan peluang bekerjasama dengan Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang yang baru demi melanjutkan pemerintahan yang baik untuk negeri kita.

ii.Kami meminta Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang mengasaskan satu usahasama baru dengan rakyat Pulau Pinang yang akan berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip, partisipasi, ketelusan, kebertanggungjawapan, kemapanan dan keadilan sosial. Prinsip-prinsip umum dan asas kepada usahasama boleh didapati di dalam Inisiatif Kemapanan Pulau Pinang 1999 (the 1999 Sustainable Penang Initiative) dan Ajenda Tempatan 21 (Local Agenda 21) Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu.

iii.Kami meminta Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang mengasaskan satu mekanisme untuk NGO bertemu dengan kerajaan atas kadar yang tetap, sekurang-kurangnya sekali dalam tiga bulan maka NGO akan mempunyai satu saluran membangkitkan isu-isu, memberi input ke dalam proses rumusan dasar-dasar, mengawasi dan memberi maklumbalas atas pelaksanaan dasar-dasar ini, dan membantu kerajaan menyelesaikan masalah-masalah dan konflik jika diperlukan apabila atau sekiranya ada masalah-masalah ini berlaku.

iv.Seterusnya, kami meminta Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang memperuntukan sumber kewangan dan sumber-sumber lain yang ada kepada NGO dan juga kumpulan-kumpulan masyarakat sivil yang lain. Khasnya, kami berhasrat mendapat akses yang mudah kepada kemudahan-kemudahan awam seperti Kompleks Penyayang, Dewan Sri Pinang, Town Hall, Balai Rakyat, padang awam dan sebagainya demi membolehkan kami menjalankan aktiviti-aktiviti kami, terutamanya program-program pendidikan umum untuk berbagai komuniti di Pulau Pinang.

v.Sebagai susulan kepada forum ini, kami akan mengasaskan ‘kumpulan-kumpulan kerja berasaskan isu’ (issue-based working groups) yang merangkumi NGO dan individu-individu yang berprihatin. Rancangan-rancangan tindakan yang teliti berkenaan berbagai isu yang mempengaruhi Pulau Pinang akan dihantar kepada Kerajaan Negeri.

vi.Dalam hal ini, kami meminta Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang memberi kami akses kepada data dan maklumat yang diperlukan maka rancangan-rancangan tindakan yang disediakan akan menuju kepada yang dipentingkan secara tepat lagi menyeluruh.

vii.Akhir sekali, kami mendorong Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang yang baru untuk mengambil berat urusan ini dengan NGO sebagai satu peluang untuk membina satu komitmen bersama demi kemajuan dan kemapanan masa depan Negeri kita. Dengan kerja bersama komitmen ini dapat menyumbang terhadap satu strategi pembangunan jangka panjang untuk Pulau Pinang, yakni:

a.menekankan pendekatan perancangan yang seimbang, bersepadu dan mapan di mana perhatian akan diberi bukan sahaja kepada pembangunan fizikal tetapi kepada ekonomi, sosial, psikologikal dan juga kepada kesan-kesan pembangunan alam sekitar;

b.memberi kuasa kepada komuniti di Pulau Pinang untuk mengambil bahagian dalam keputusan-keputusan yang mempengaruhi mereka, memberi perhatian khas untuk melibatkan kumpulan-kumpulan yang dipinggirkan, termasuk wanita, belia, warga mas, orang kurang upaya, mereka yang kurang mewah, penghijrah, orang pelarian maka demokrasi dapat dipertingkatkan dan promosi keadilan sosial dicapai.

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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hardev kaur
hardev kaur
14 Dec 2011 3.23pm

Is local agenda 21 still being implemented in MPPP?

Ong Eu Soon
12 Nov 2010 3.15am

Mock Election or Mockery of Election

I just read news report from Malaysia Kini that the contestants only allowed few minutes to introduce themselves. They are not allow to campaign freely and distributing pamphlets. Those who disobey will be disqualified. Why Penang Forum 3 prohibits the contestants from campaigning and distributing pamphlet? Isn’t it important for those who want to contest to campaign openly and freely? Do we really need just to educate people on how to cast a vote? Isn’t the mock election should mimic real election and provide opportunity for all contestant to voice out their manifesto and their stand on all kind of issues? Isn’t it important for contestants to campaign freely without constraints? Why Penang Forum 3 is behaving worst than BN ? No campaign allowed! What a mockery to free and fair election !

Abang Adek
14 Oct 2010 4.00pm

This election exercise by the Penang Forum to elect NGO reps for Council is certainly to be applauded. But pray tell, just how long more do we have to wait before this DAP-led PR government introduces local government (LG) elections? Next year? 2012, 2015, 2020? When? Give us a time frame! Is a firm time frame so difficult for this DAP-led PR government to lay out for the people of Penang? If DAP/PR cannot even set out a simple time-frame for the introduction of LG elections, why should Penangites trust them? How different is their behaviour from that of the clearly-untrustworthy and discredited BN? All I have heard thus far from CM Lim Guan Eng and his government re. LG elections are lame excuses. This cannot, that cannot. We want to hold LG elections but BN won’t let! All plain schoolboy-level hypocritical garbage. In truth, this DAP/PR government is not committed to holding LG elections since it will mean their having to embrace genuine democratic principles and eschew old-fashioned patronage to their local DAP/PR leaders. Unfortunately, at this rate, the Penang Forum is only being led… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
12 Nov 2010 3.19am
Reply to  Abang Adek

No way lah! Penang Forum is making fun of local election. IT does not understand the thrue meaning of election. If Penang Forum can’t understand the significant of having an election, you seriously think that LGe can understand? Penang Forum call for a mock election but no campaign allowed. What a fool!

admin
admin
12 Nov 2010 5.17pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Sunday is actually polling day inside the hall. They will be formally introduced before the polling.

Candidates may campaign outside the hall before the polling proper.