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Thread: SPR: Redelineation of constituency boundaries to begin soon

   
   
       
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    SPR: Redelineation of constituency boundaries to begin soon


    Redelineation of constituency boundaries to begin soon





    • 4:15PM May 23, 2013


    A study on the redelineation of electoral constituencies, which was postponed two years ago, will begin soon, said Election Commission (EC) deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

    He said the redelineation of electoral constituencies and boundaries could be carried out in accordance with Article 113 (2) (ii) of the federal constitution as the last exercise was done 10 years ago.

    “The last exercise should have been conducted in 2011 as the last one was done in 2003, but we had to postpone it until the 13th general election was over.

    “The review and redelineation of the parliamentary and state constituencies has to be carried out as the constitution stipulates than the EC has to carry out the exercise once every eight years.

    “So we will carry out the exercise gradually before submitting it to Parliament,” he told Bernama after an interview with Bernama TV on the ‘Hello Malaysia’ programme last night.

    He said the redelineation exercise was very important because the country had undergone many changes, including migration of people from city to city, over the last 10 years.

    “For example, when we review the electoral boundaries in 2003, Kota Damansara was not as advanced as it is now. There was no Mutiara Damansara then and many squatter settlements had been cleared to make way for apartments, so definitely the number of voters has changed,” he said.


    Call for resignation disrespectful of Agong


    Commenting on Pakatan Rakyat’s urging for the EC chairperson and him to resign, claiming fraud in GE13, he said it was disrespectful of the constitution and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

    He said as an independent body that did not represent any party and appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers, the EC’s role should not be undermined.


    “This urging comes from narrow minded people. We had done our best. If we are not transparent and if the EC is in favour of Barisan Nasional, how come they could win 89 seats, and wrested Selangor and Penang easily?” he said.


    Wan Ahmad said he believed the opposition had another agenda in mind or wanted to create havoc by inciting the people, particularly the younger generation by inflaming hatred.

    - Bernama



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    • 4:02PM May 24, 2013
    • A new commission should be established to study the redelineation of state and parliamentary constituencies, which is due to soon, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali proposed today.

      "The gerrymandering masterminded by Umno has crippled the electoral system in Malaysia. The delineation of constituency boundaries was done unfairly and did not meet the principle of representative democracy.

      "The Election Commission (EC) should focus more on the management of elections and not be burdened with the responsibility to propose redelineation of constituency boundaries.

      "This will only jeopardise the credibility and independence of the EC," Azmin said in his opening address at the annual congress of the PKR Wanita and Youth wings in Petaling Jaya this afternoon.

      The Gombak MP proposed that a new commission that will be independent, transparent and professional be given the task of re-delineating constituency boundaries.

      Azmin cited the Boundary Commission of the United Kingdom, which is tasked to conduct the redelineation of constituencies every five years, as the example for Malaysia to follow.
      Kick off efforts in this, Wanita, Youth wings told

      "Hence, I suggest that the Wanita and Youth wings be proactive in kicking off the effort to discuss with those who have the expertise to propose the justification for re-delineation based on democratic ethics, to serve as a counter-proposal to the re-delineation proposal of the EC at the end of this year."

      Last night DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua (right) told a rally in Petaling Jaya that Pakatan Rakyat MPs will push for a bi-partisan parliamentary select committee on redelineation when the new Parliament convenes on June 24.

      This is to ensure a fairer distribution of voters in the constituencies, said Pua, the MP for PJ Utara.

      The federal constitution stipulates for an interval of not less than eight years between two redelineation exercises, with a mandatory deadline of two years for the process to be completed.

      The last constituency redelineation was carried out in 2002 and the proposals adopted by Parliament in 2003.

      After the redelineation, the EC still needs a two-thirds backing of the Members of Parliament or the members of the state assemblies for the new constituency boundaries to be approved.

      Yesterday, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the new round of redelineation exercise will begin soon.
      In his speech today, Azmin also slammed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak by “reminding” him that he is heading a minority government, which has lost the popular vote.

      “Yet, Malaysia’s democracy is strange and miraculous. Pakatan Rakyat which has garnered 51 percent of the popular vote from the people becomes the opposition, whereas Umno (and BN) forms the government although he only receives 47 percent (of the votes),” he lamented.
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    Saturday, 25 May 2013 09:49FIND A WAY, DON'T JUST SAY NO: ‘Impossible’ for one man one vote - EC


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    The Election Commission (EC) has confirmed that its year-end redelineation exercise will involve an increase in federal seats but its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said it would be “impossible” to guarantee equal value for every vote.


    Abdul Aziz cited geographical and logistical concerns with the opposition’s demand for “one man, one vote, one value” but added, however, that the EC would try its level best to give similar weightage to every vote.


    “But realistically, how do you make it one man, one vote, one value? I think it is virtually impossible... we can spread the weightage here and there but apart from that, it would be too difficult,” he told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.


    Explaining, Abdul Aziz said the population size and physical landscape in every constituency differs in every state, rendering it even more difficult for the EC to adhere to the opposition’s demand for equal value for every vote.


    The opposition blamed its recent electoral losses on gerrymandering by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), claiming the vastly unequal value of votes across constituencies nationwide had allowed a government with minority support to rule the majority.


    In the just-concluded May 5 polls, BN recaptured federal power with 133 federal seats to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 89 but lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969, scoring just under 48 per cent of the votes cast to PR’s 51 per cent.


    Abdul Aziz went on to cite the differences in the terrains of Borneo’s rugged interiors in Sabah or Sarawak and the crowded metropolitan streets in cities over in the peninsula.


    “In Sabah for example, we take Kinabatangan... the size of this one constituency is as big as the entire state of Pahang... but the number of voters are small.


    “If we wanted to give the same value to voters in Kinabatangan to voters in Pahang, we would have to enlarge the Kinabatangan constituency to at least three times its size to include more voters.


    “But would this be fair? How would the elected representative service his or her constituents in such a large area?” he said.


    Abdul Aziz also reminded that in the more remote areas of the country, the lack of basic infrastructure like roads, communication lines, local district offices and other essential amenities, must be considered when the EC draws electoral boundaries.


    “In places like Kuala Lumpur... although we have large populations living in small areas, the facilities are good. You cannot compare them to the remote areas of Sabah and Sarawak.


    “And we want to make it fair on the elected representatives of the areas so that they can provide good service to the people.


    “We don’t want to just force every constituency to have, say, 60,000 voters, for the sake of standardising things... but at the same time, the representative in a rural does not have the same facilities as his peer in the urban areas. It’s not that easy,” he said.


    Abdul Aziz said that in the current system, voters are dispersed according to simple categories: rural, semi-urban, small towns and cities.


    In terms of vote value, population sizes and boundaries are drawn by matching these categories, he said, to ensure that the value of every vote in one rural seat has the same or similar weightage to votes in another rural seat elsewhere.


    “This is how we make it fair... we have to compare city to city, town to town, kampung to kampung. At least that is something.


    “But to make it one man, one vote, one value across the board in the whole country, that is impossible,” he said.


    Abdul Aziz, however, offered the EC’s commitment to engage with members of civil society groups and political parties when it formally kicks off its redelineation process this year-end, saying the authority was open to ideas from all parties.


    He confirmed that if the redelineation involves an increase in the current number of seats, this would require an amendment to the Federal Constitution. There are presently 222 federal and 576 state seats nationwide.


    Any amendment to current electoral boundaries will likely come under close scrutiny from all members of Parliament, particularly those from the opposition bloc in PR’s DAP, PKR and PAS.


    As a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority, heated challenges from the opposition bench can be expected in the lower House when the EC’s plans are put to vote.


    BN does not have required two-thirds majority in Parliament with only 133 seats to PR’s 89 seats, and will require votes from opposition lawmakers to approve the redelineation.


    PR’s elected representatives have already indicated their determination to use their increased numbers in Parliament to ensure the redelineation is conducted fairly.


    The EC recently said that the exercise will be kicked off by year-end after the six-month process to hear election petitions are completed. The petitions must be filed within 21 days after the results of the election are gazetted.


    The Federal Constitution prohibits a redelineation exercise from being conducted within eight years of the last. The EC last redrew constituency lines in 2003.


    Abdul Aziz said once the redelineation exercise is kicked off, the EC has up two years to complete it.
    - The Malaysian Insider

    py

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    Malapportionment and Gerrymandering — What Can We Do About It?

    23 May 2013 | Bolehland | Posted by Andrew Yong

    Andrew Yong provides a solution for Malaysia’s gerrymandering problem.

    Having read “A Brief History of Malapportionment: How BN Can Win 59.9% of the Seats with 47.4% of the Vote“, some people have asked “What do we do next?” There are several things that can be done to address malapportionment; some are things we each can do in any case, whereas some require cross-party agreement to amend the Constitution.

    Amending the Constitution

    If there were cross-party consensus — unlikely as it may be — the Constitution could be amended in several ways to correct malapportionment in Malaysia:

    First, to restore the original Merdeka Constitution provision whereby seats are divided between the States of Malaya based on the number of registered voters in each State, having regard also to the population of each State. Under such a system, the number of MPs allocated to Selangor would increase to between 30 and 40 MPs

    (As for the Borneo States and the Federal Territories, Sabah and Sarawak should each continue to have the extra representation guaranteed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963. It is also unavoidable that each Federal Territory, no matter how small, be given at least one MP);
    Table showing actual allocation of MPs by population and number of voters, compared with (a) a purely proportional allocation, and (b) an allocation that preserves the additional representation given to the Borneo States with a minimum of one MP each for Labuan and Putrajaya.
    Second, to restore the original Merdeka Constitution provision whereby each seat cannot be 15% larger or smaller than the average in the same State;

    Third, to restore the original Merdeka Constitution provision whereby the EC is empowered to conduct constituency redelineation independently without interference from the Prime Minister or the Dewan Rakyat; and

    Fourth, and more radically, to create a new class of non-constituency “top-up” seats which are allocated to political parties who score at least 5% of the national vote, to make their share of the seats as close as possible to their share of the popular vote. This is the system known as Mixed-Member Proportional Representation, which has been adopted in Germany, New Zealand and various other countries.

    Without Amending the Constitution

    If the Constitution is not amended, then the number of seats allocated to each State and Federal Territory will remain unchanged. However, there are still a number of things that Malaysians can try to do when the next constituency redelineation is carried out by the EC, beginning at the end of this year.

    Contrary to popular belief, as long as the number of seats in each State remains the same, the redelineation of both Federal and State constituency boundaries is subject only to the approval of a simple majority of the Dewan Rakyat. However, if the number of parliamentary or State seats in any State is to be changed, then a two-thirds majority is required to amend the Federal or State Constitution (as the case may be).

    The Thirteenth Schedule to the Constitution provides the basis on which seats are to be delineated within each State. Of particular relevance are the principles that:
    (c) the number of electors within each constituency in a State ought to be approximately equal except that, having regard to the greater difficulty of reaching electors in the country districts and the other disadvantages facing rural constituencies, a measure of weightage for area ought to be given to such constituencies;
    (d) regard ought to be had to the inconveniences attendant on alterations of constituencies, and to the maintenance of local ties.
    Principle (c) requires the EC to deviate from “approximately equal” constituencies by applying a “measure of weightage for area”. This rural weightage was capped at +/- 15% (i.e. +35% ) in 1957, but was increased to +100% in 1962. Since 1973, there has been no fixed cap on the rural weightage, but the “measure of weightage for area” should arguably be a single formula, rational, based on land area, and consistently applied across Malaysia. In particular, there should not be a gross discrepancy between two urban seats or two rural seats of the same land area within the same State. The EC must be forced to disclose and to justify the precise formula that is used to calculate the rural weightage in Malaysia, and any excessive weightage beyond +100% should be vigorously contested.

    Principle (d) requires the EC to lean on the side of not altering constituency boundaries where possible. This inclination is mirrored in the procedural provisions of the Thirteenth Schedule. If no boundary alteration is proposed, then the EC does not have to consult the public on retaining the existing boundaries. However, if the EC proposes to make any changes, then it must advertise the changes publicly and allow one month for representations. If a State Government, local authority or 100 or more voters in the constituency submit objections, then the EC is required to hold a local enquiry on the proposed alterations. If any further changes are made, then a second local enquiry can be compelled.

    Where it has a two-thirds majority in the State Legislative Assembly, a State Government can also force the EC to make limited changes to State (and, indirectly, parliamentary) constituency boundaries by amending the State Constitution to increase or decrease the number of seats in the State Legislative Assembly. However, it is ultimately up to the EC to decide where the new State constituency or constituencies should be located, and how the Federal constituencies should be altered as a result. Whether or not this step is advisable will depend on local circumstances.

    Once the redelineation is complete, any proposed changes are laid before the Dewan Rakyat. If the Dewan Rakyat rejects the proposed changes, then the Prime Minister himself can make changes to the redelineation after consulting with the EC, before it is resubmitted it for approval! In so doing, the Prime Minister is not required to consult with members of the public, but he can and should expect the closest public and media scrutiny.

    The EC must be under no illusions that the forthcoming redelineation of constituency boundaries will not be closely scrutinised by citizens at every level and at every stage of the process. If the redelineation does not comply with any of the provisions of the Constitution, then we must challenge it in Court. In the meanwhile, we, the voters of Malaysia, must place every form of political pressure imaginable on the Federal Government and Members of Parliament to press for a fairer and more representative redelineation, which must be one of the key demands of any Bersih 4.0 rally.
    py

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    Tuesday, 28 May 2013 09:30

    Redelineation: We’ll study all proposals - EC


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    The Election Commission (EC) will study all proposals thoroughly with regard to the year-end redelineation process.


    EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Yusof yesterday told theSun the suggestion for EC to break up large urban electorates will be looked at carefully.


    "The EC will study any proposal very carefully, guided by the existing laws and the Federal Constitution. We have to analyse the whole situation properly and not at a snapshot. We need time to study the proposals with reference to Schedule 13 of the Constitution," he said in reply to a text message.


    He was responding to a front-page report in theSun yesterday quoting PKR vice-president N. Surendran as saying it was possible to achieve "one man, one vote, one value" in the upcoming redelineation exercise.


    Surendran said among options to enable equal vote weightage is to break up large urban constituencies such as Kapar (nearly 140,000 voters) into two separate seats.


    This will ensure that huge disparities between constituencies do not occur, for example between Kapar and Putrajaya (15,000 voters).


    The disparity in such seats has led to some quarters claiming mal-apportionment and gerrymandering to favour the ruling coalition.


    Opposition leaders also called for the "one man, one vote, one value" ideal to be practised in light of the recent election, where the Pakatan Rakyat won 51% of popular vote, but only secured 89 of the 222 parliamentary seats.


    On suggestions that a parliamentary select committee (PSC) be formed to assist EC in the redelineation, Abdul Aziz said it is beyond the commission's jurisdiction.


    "That is under the power of the Parliament, not the EC. I do not want to comment further before seeing a detailed proposal for the PSC," he said.


    On Saturday, Abdul Aziz was quoted by a news portal that it is "impossible" to achieve equal weightage for every vote due to geographical issues but that the EC would try its best to achieve equality.


    - theSun

    py

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    It’s gerrymandering and malapportionment, stupid!


    [COLOR=#707070 !important]May 28, 2013[/COLOR]
    FMT LETTER: From Stephen Ng, via e-mail
    Once again, the Election Commission has defended its position, instead of listening to the rakyat, that Malaysia’s voting system will keep BN in power forever.


    By quoting the examples of a number of Commonwealth countries, including Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India, which uses the first past the post voting system, it is telling only half-truth – or in my opinion, a blatant lie – to the whole nation.


    No one is disputing that the first past the post is a fair system. If you have 222 members of parliament, and you have 112, you form the simple majority government and if you have 144 seats, you have two-third majority.


    During an interview with the Malaysian Insider, EC’s deputy chairman, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar is still trying to hoodwink the nation, with what is on the surface.


    By doing this, Wan Ahmad is blatantly lying to the nation that the country’s democracy is as alive as other more mature democracies in the world.


    However, what he has failed to do is to reveal the popularity votes in these countries, compared to a pariah system that is allowed to continue. In any case, if a similar situation had occurred in Australia, for example, the Members of Parliament from both political divides would have corrected the discrepancies by making sure that the government of the day represents as closely as possible the majority of the voters.


    Whereas Malaysia’s Election Commission is only answerable to the prime minister, in these more mature democracies, the Election Commission as well as the other important organisations, such as the anti-corruption body, are answerable to the parliament.

    Deaf to truth, stop talking nonsense


    What 505 Blackout is all about is nothing to do with the first past the post democracy. No one even disputes it, until Wan Ahmad raised it up in order to justify the position of the Election Commission.


    What the rakyat have been shouting about are two words: “Malapportionment,” which means unequally-sized constituencies and “Gerrymandering”, which means the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favour the ruling party.


    For example, Kapar has over 100,000 voters, whereas Putrajaya has only 6,000 voters. By studying the demographics of the country, it is possible to re-delienate the constituencies based on the voting patterns of the people.


    For example, based on a state constituency alone like Paya Jeras, a former Umno stronghold, which had collapsed to PAS for the first time in 53 years, the constituency can be broken into two instead of one.


    The voting stations give an indication of the voting patterns in each part of the constituency; therefore, it is easy for Umno to take back Paya Jeras, by redelineating the constituency to retain Kubu Gajah and Paya Jeras under Paya Jeras, while Aman Puri and Taman Ehsan goes under Bukit Lanjan. Although this is for the time being a hypothetical case, it is how gerrymandering has been taking place in the past.


    Because of gerrymandering, each constituency no longer follows the logical geographical area or the number of people represented by the elected Member of Parliament or State Assembly. N45 Selat Kelang is a very good example, where the entire constituency is separated by land and sea.


    In 2013, Kapar was the largest parliamentary constituency with over 144,000 voters, whereas Putrajaya only had about 15,000. Both constituencies are represented by one parliamentarian each. Based on the demographics and the voting patterns of constituencies, it is not difficult to tell that BN’s white constituencies are usually small whereas the black areas are much bigger in the number of voters.


    If Wan Ahmad has not fully understood the meaning and implication of gerrymandering, he and his chairman, Tan Sri Aziz Yusof should sit down for a session conducted by Tindak Malaysia or academicians like Wong Chin Huat and Dr Ong Kian Meng.


    What many of us are unhappy about is that gerrymandering has led to one rural vote being equal to six urban votes in the May 5 General Election, where Pakatan Rakyat won the popular vote but BN got to form the government.
    py

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