THE Dewan Rakyat has accepted the motion to redraw the electoral boundaries, which the opposition has repeatedly called a gerrymandering exercise to boost the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s chances in the coming general election.
The bill was passed after a bloc vote was called, with the final vote in favour of the current Barisan Nasional government.
BN used its majority and ensured the motion was carried with 129 votes for and 80 votes against.
Barisan Nasional’s 134 seats, the opposition’s 87, and one independent MP make up the 222-strong Dewan Rakyat.
Earlier, when winding up the debate on the bill, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said even the government had grouses with the Election Commission’s re-delineation exercise, but they aired it through proper channels.
“The government also disagreed with the EC’s recommendations. But we don’t want into interfere. We follow the constitution to allow the EC to do their duty,” he said.
The endorsement of the motion was the culmination of a debate, which at times saw members from both sides of the divide trade barbs.
The changes will now be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his assent, and once it is given, Putrajaya has only to gazette it into law.
Earlier during the debate, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali declared the exercise to redraw the boundaries as Barisan Nasional’s tactic to ensure its survival.
Azmin said Umno was aware its time was almost up and as such, it was employing all its agencies, including the Election Commission (EC) to ensure its survival.
“To ensure survival, Umno is using all agencies, including the EC, to twist and steal in the upcoming general election,” he said during the debate on the EC’s re-delineation report in Parliament today.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan complained about the EC reluctance to meet with the opposition to discuss the matter.
“The EC should entertain us, we are stakeholders,” he said.
The DAP used the debate to also needle its traditional foes, MCA, Gerakan and MIC.
Its Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming said MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders had at various times raised concerns over the changes made to the electoral boundaries but were silent in the chamber.
Warisan president Shafie Apdal lamented that Sabah’s redelineation report was not included in the report.
“Why are the rights of Sabahans not respected?” he asked.
Almost all of the objections raised by voters against proposed re-delineation of electoral boundaries in Selangor were also thrown out by EC.
Of 738 objectors, each representing at least 100 voters, 92.1% were thrown out for failing to meet requirements of a local enquiry, the report revealed.
As for objections that did make it to the local inquiry, 81.4% of them were rejected by the EC.
The objections were made between January and February this year when the EC held its second and final round of public hearings on the proposed re-delineation exercise for parliamentary and state constituencies in the state. The local inquiries were held in March. – March 28, 2018.
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