Train lawyers as polling agents to fight fraud, Ambiga tells opposition

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Ambiga Sreenevasan speaks during a public forum on examining issues relating to malapportionment, gerrymandering and electoral fraud in Kuala Lumpur today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Farhan Nazmi, February 20, 2018.

OPPOSITION parties should train lawyers to be their polling agents as they are well-versed with the law and could be “tough enough” to stand up for their candidates, said Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) chairperson spoke of her experience running an election watchdog in the 2013 general election, and said lawyers as polling agents would be able to detect fraud.

“I strongly urge all candidates to get good, tough election agents because they are the ones who make a difference,” she told a forum in Kuala Lumpur today.

She said the opposition lost a lot of ground in GE13 because the polling agents, counting agents and election agents were not tough enough or did not know enough.

“Some of the seats were lost because they were not asserting the rights of their candidates,” said Ambiga, who was former co-chairperson of Bersih, a civil society group advocating for free and fair elections. Read more

The loaded dice in redrawing electoral constituencies

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight file pic

The Election Commission should ensure that every citizen’s vote is equal to another, and not weighted. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 4, 2018.

IF all things are equal, the current electoral re-delineation exercise throughout Malaysia should iron out past gerrymandering that allowed a wide disparity in voter numbers in constituencies across the country.

If.

But as one can see from the exercise in Selangor, the Election Commission (EC) seems to have a different idea of what all things being equal is all about. The weightage of voters in the electoral seats is as different as night and day.

And that has lead Selangor government think-tank Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) to conclude that the ruling federal coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) could wrest back Malaysia’s richest state if elections are held after the re-delineation exercise. Read more

Courts fail voters in EC redelineation challenges, says Sri Ram

Source: FMT News

Retired Federal Court judge and lawyer Gopal Sri Ram in an October 30, 2014 picture by Najjua Zulkefli

PETALING JAYA: The year saw superior courts – the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court – delivering numerous judgments that touched on the basic constitutional rights of citizens.

The most significant were legal challenges mounted by voters and the PKR-led state government in Selangor against the Election Commission (EC) for its alleged failure to follow procedures and demarcate election boundaries as required under the Federal Constitution. Read more

Ex-judge says court failed to use its additional powers in EC case

Source: FMT News

Paragraph 1 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 gives judges the additional power to remedy a wrong, especially on fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, says Sri Ram. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The courts have additional powers to check on illegality and correct any injustice with regard to complaints against the Election Commission (EC) in carrying out the redelineation exercise, a retired judge said.

Gopal Sri Ram said judges could then issue the appropriate order to compel the EC to act in accordance with the law.

“The law is that if the EC acts contrary to the Federal Constitution in the exercise of its powers, then the court can examine the legality of the conduct.

“If there is either illegality in the way in which the power is exercised or any injustice has resulted because of the exercise of its powers, the court can issue the appropriate order to compel the EC to act in accordance with the law,” he told FMT. Read more

Court lifts obstacle on EC to start redelineation process in Selangor

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) can now conduct its local inquiries in Selangor, paving the way for the redrawing of electoral boundaries, after the Court of Appeal today set aside a stay order by the High Court 11 days ago.

The 2-1 majority decision was made by bench chairman Idrus Harun and Justice Yaacob Md Sam while Justice Rhodzariah Bujang held the status quo should remain to preserve the Selangor government’s appeal.

Idrus said the majority agreed with the arguments put forward by government lawyer Amarjeet Singh in lifting the interim stay as sought by the EC. Read more

Bersih 2.0 claims more soldiers shifted as voters to unbuilt camps

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PETALING JAYA, Nov 7 ― More military personnel and their spouses have been transferred as voters to yet-to-be-built camps in several locations in peninsular Malaysia, Bersih 2.0 claimed today.

The elections watchdog said its investigations found the Election Commission (EC) had made voter transfers to locations in at least two states other than one it had previously highlighted in Segamat, Johor ― including to one in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to Bersih 2.0, up to 2,700 persons to the Bera Camp in Pahang and Hutan Melintang Camp in Perak, both of which are still under construction.

The group alleged that the transfers were politically motivated, pointing to the EC’s set-up of new localities to register voters from the camps.

“The EC had actually set up localities for these new camps,” the group’s co-chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah, told a press conference here. Read more

Selangor lists six ‘supersized’ seats as examples of EC’s alleged gerrymandering

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Court hears that multi-ethinic seats that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia have been reduced from 34 to 18. Image taken from FMT News

Court hears that multi-ethnic seats that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia have been reduced from 34 to 18. Image taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The Selangor government claimed it is the most affected state by the Election Commission’s (EC) proposed redelineation, listing six constituencies that it said have been “supersized” in attempted gerrymandering and malapportionment.

In a judicial review today, Selangor government’s lead counsel Datuk Cyrus Das named Petaling Jaya Utara, Serdang, Klang, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Kelana Jaya, and Kota Raja as the seats affected.

He claimed the redrawn boundaries violate Section 2(c), Part 1 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates the need for constituencies to have “approximately equal” number of voter distribution.

“It is not so much about the number of votes but how it is distributed to ensure proper element of representation.

“So when the Election Commission carries out this mapping exercise, drawing or redrawing electoral boundaries, if the results are a dilution of the vote, it affects the right to vote,” Cyrus said.

Clauses 2(c) and 2(d) of the 13th Schedule call for approximately equal number of voters in constituencies, as well as consideration of maintenance of local ties and inconveniences caused to voters when voting boundaries are altered. Read more

Ethnic flavour as EC redraws election boundaries in Selangor

Source: FMT News

Court hears that multi-ethinic seats that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia have been reduced from 34 to 18. Image taken from FMT News

Court hears that multi-ethnic seats that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia have been reduced from 34 to 18. Image taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) has drawn up more Malay majority state seats in the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government under its proposed delineation exercise, the High Court heard today.

Counsel Cyrus Das said 30 Malay predominant seats were suggested, compared to 17 currently.

“This is the result of gerrymandering and the malapportionment exercise which are against guidelines established in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Das is appearing for the Selangor government and Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali in a judicial review application to challenge the EC’s delineation exercise. He said Chinese majority seats had gone up from five to eight.

“However, multi-ethnic seats in the state that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia has been reduced from 34 to 18,” he said.

Das said it was very important that the drawing of boundaries must be proportionate and approximately equal. Read more

UndiMsiaChats #1: How Gerry and Salamander won the election

In mid-September, the Election Commission issued a notice that they would propose recommendations for a redelineation of constituency boundaries. How would the implementation of those recommendations influence Malaysia?

By organizing a series of #UndiMsia! chats, we want to find answers and unpack the issues of gerrymandering (Session 1), constituent delineation (Session 2) and discuss electoral reforms (Session 3).

On our first session, on 7th November, the discussion panel features Ong Kian Ming, member of the Democratic Action Party and MP for Serdang.
He will shed light on the phenomenon of gerrymandering and malapportionment. Together, you will find out where it comes from and why it is done. He will be assisted by a group of young lawyers which will make the topic more lively by facilitating a Gerrymandering game that you can join in!

If you want to know more about the topic, keep your calendars free for Sessions 2 (21st November) and 3 (28th November). More details will be announced shortly.

Admission is free and open to everyone.