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A good start to restore our democratic system

Penang PR, well done. This small step is historical significant in restoring our local council elections.

Voters casting their ballots enthusiastically at the Penang Forum 3 polls

Penang Forum winners may be appointed councillors

GEORGE TOWN: The state government will consider appointing the winners of the Penang Forum local government election as councillors.

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said he would present the list of potential councillors to the state executive council for deliberation.

“It is not that I do not want to appoint them all but I don’t run the state alone.

“I cannot comment on how many will be appointed (if at all) but we will make a decision by the end of the year or early January,” he said, adding that the current councillors’ term ends December 31.

On restoring local government election, he said the state was still waiting for the Election Commission’s (EC) response to join the state in petitioning to the court for a judicial pronouncement on the matter.

“If the EC refuses, we will file our own petition,” he told reporters after the Penang Forum 3 event at the Penang Chinese Girls School Alumni Hall in Jalan Bagan Jermal here yesterday.

Some 300 voters turned up to cast their votes.

Penang Forum election commissioner and Aliran president P. Ramakrishnan said there were no untoward incidents as all nominees had adhered to the polling rules.

“Today’s exercise clearly shows that a free and fair local government election can be held here — no doubt democracy is thriving in Penang,” he said.

The event was organised by Penang Forum — a civil society organisation.

Penang Forum steering committee member Francis Loh said the event was very important as it marked three main things: exposing nominees to the meaning, structure and role of the local government, getting to know the nominees and their manifestos and the voting process itself.

“Too often in elections, we focus on the votes and forget about getting to know the candidates,” he said.

The five winners were Teo Lee Ken, Dr Lim Mah Hui, Chin Khuan Sui, Low Swee Heong and Dalbinder Singh Gill for the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and Dr Tiun Ling Ta, V. Sivagurupatham, Teng Kim Chew, S. Krishnan and Ung Teow Hong for the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP).

They were selected from a list of 24 nominees.

Dalbinder Singh, a 20-year-old college student, hoped age would not be a deterrent to his appointment as councillor.

His manifesto was to improve the finan- cial management, environment, community, transport and youth participation in the council.

Teo, who had the highest number of votes among the MPPP nominees, described the win as unexpected.

The 25-year-old research assistant, who prepared posters of himself as Superman, promised to do his best if appointed.

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