Kit Siang: Why is EC chair abandoning predecessor’s redelineation plans?

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Map of redelineated constituencies on display at the Selangor EC office September 15, 2016. Voters have one month to file complaints, if any. — Picture by Kamles Kumar

Map of redelineated constituencies on display at the Selangor EC office September 15, 2016. Voters have one month to file complaints, if any. — Picture by Kamles Kumar

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 ― DAP’s Lim Kit Siang questioned Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Mohd Hashim Abdullah today on why he was not following his predecessor’s electoral redelineation plans for smaller constituencies.

Lim cited former EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, who was reported as saying in a November 2, 2014 report by national newswire Bernama that “a constituency with a large number of voters, more than 100,000, has to be divided into two, for example, so that there are reasonable numbers of voters in both”.

“Can Mohd Hashim explain why he had jettisoned his predecessor, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s redelineation plan to abide by the Constitution and the democratic principle of ‘one man, one vote’ by ensuring that there will be no super-size parliamentary constituencies exceeding 100,000 votes?” Lim said in a statement.

Abdul Aziz had reportedly said in 2014 that a redelineation exercise was not meant to benefit any particular political party, but to facilitate voters and to enable constituents to get good service from their elected representatives. He had highlighted Batu and Segambut as federal constituencies in Kuala Lumpur that are small in size, but have a large number of voters.

Lim has previously urged the EC to redraw 13 “super” parliamentary constituencies that have more than 100,000 registered voters under the current redelineation exercise, seven of which are in Pakatan-held Selangor.

According to the DAP parliamentary leader, the seats are Damansara (150,439 voters), Bangi (146,168 voters), Klang (141,275 voters), Petaling Jaya (129,363 voters), Subang (128,330 voters), Gelang Patah (112,081 voters), Kota Raja (121,126 voters), Pasir Gudang (108,156 voters), Kota Melaka (105,067 voters), Kuala Terengganu (101,875 voters), Sungai Petani (101,829 voters), Tumpat (101,318 voters) and Kapar (100,456 voters).

Lim alleged today that the present redrawing of electoral boundaries was unconstitutional, claiming it violated the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution that states that the number of voters ought to be “approximately equal”, but a certain weightage is allowed for rural constituencies where it would be more difficult to reach voters.

“The Thirteenth Schedule provides for weightage for rural areas, but this voter disparity or weightage for urban-rural constituencies should constantly be closed and not widened, as is the case with the proposed redelineation,” said the Gelang Patah MP.

“Why is the Election Commission widening instead of narrowing the voter disparity in the state constituencies in Selangor, if there is no ulterior agenda to redelineate the electoral constituencies to benefit Umno?” Lim questioned.

The EC issued a statement yesterday denying claims that the redelineation exercise was meant to benefit certain parties.