GEORGE TOWN: Penang has set up a legal advisory committee, with former Bar Council president Yeo Yang Poh as its chairman, to look into the legal aspects of carrying out local government elections.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Yeo, who is also deputy chairman of Penang Pardons Board, would work with a legal team on how to bring back the third vote and recommend the next course of action for the state government.
"The committee will look at the various legal points raised in the 10-page reply from the EC (Election Commission) on why the local government election cannot be held," he told a press conference after officiating the Penang Industrial and Automation Expo 2010 on Thursday, March 25.
He added that the EC had also pointed out that the state government should have raised the matter with the local government council chaired by the deputy prime minister, as it was the right avenue for decision on the matter.
"The state government, via the state local government exco chairman Chow Kon Yeow, had twice written to the local government committee, on July 14 and Aug 24 last year to include this agenda to discuss restoring the local government elections during the local government committee meeting," Lim said.
"Via two letters dated Aug 3 and Sept 14 last year, we received replies that the suggestion to include this discussion at the meeting was rejected."
The EC had in its reply to the Penang government on Tuesday turned down the "third vote" request stating among others, that "all provisions in any law" relating to local government elections have been abolished and "ceased to have effect" on the application of Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1976.
Meanwhile, Lim said Penang had 20,000 jobs that are open to those from other states. "Penang has no problems absorbing these workers as for every one person looking for a job, two jobs are being offered to them.
"This is in stark contrast to the same period last year when jobs were hard to come by and there were some people who were being laid off. Now, even the manufacturing sector is complaining of having to reduce their output due to the inability to meet the orders, which have increased dramatically," he added.