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Thread: SPR: Ex-Election Commission chief joins Perkasa, says goal is to help Malays retain power

   
   
       
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    SPR: Ex-Election Commission chief joins Perkasa, says goal is to help Malays retain power

    He just confirmed what RPK reported about Abdul Rashi's boasts about EC being there to maintain Malay (read UMNO) power

    Ex-Election Commission chief joins Perkasa, says goal is to help Malays retain power


    BY MUZLIZA MUSTAFA
    NOVEMBER 25, 2013

    Ex-Election Commission chairman chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has joined Malay right-wing group Perkasa, helmed by Datuk Ibrahim Ali (with a keris). – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 25, 2013.

    It must have been one of Kuala Lumpur’s best kept secrets.


    Long seen as cosmopolitan and suave, former Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has joined Malay right-wing group Perkasa, saying his experience can help the majority race keep power.


    The long-serving EC employee made his debut at the Perkasa Federal Territory chapter meeting yesterday, after signing up six months ago.





    His reason for joining the right-wing group: Abdul Rashid wants to champion Malay rights and ensure they remain in the scheme of things after the next general election.


    As Perkasa is widely seen as an offshoot of Umno, Abdul Rashid must mean Umno, but the ruling coalition lynchpin party’s name never came up during his speech or press conference.


    "With my experience and knowledge in the EC, I will help Perkasa to achieve this," said Abdul Rashid yesterday while opening the Perkasa Federal Territory annual general meeting at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman yesterday.


    Abdul Rashid, 69, said he was invited to join the group many times by its president, Datuk Ibrahim Ali.


    "When I decided to come in, I told him that it will be all right for me to be just be an ordinary member but Ibrahim wanted me to be in the council as he said it would be easier for me to give my views on improving the organisation," said Abdul Rashid.


    To ensure Malays keep power


    Yesterday, Abdul Rashid gave a glimpse of what he has in store for the right-wing group and Malaysia during his speech.


    "There are so many things that we need to do. It's not just talking about it but we also have to act on it. But first and foremost, we have to be respectful of our leader (Ibrahim Ali)," said Abdul Rashid to cheers from 300-odd Perkasa members.


    He said Perkasa should be focused.


    Abdul Rashid said, at present, Perkasa behaved like firemen who rushed off to douse fires. Perkasa would talk or act only if there was an issue involving Malay rights.


    "We cannot be running here and there. We have to focus and fight and have to continue fighting until we get results."


    He said Perkasa was not a place to make money or gain power and people should not question his motive.


    "I am here not to seek power or money. Joining Perkasa means I have to be ready to fight."


    The former EC chairman said Malays will have to remain in power politically as the country belonged to the Malays.


    "This place was called the Malay Federation (Tanah Persekutuan Melayu) and when we gained independence, it was changed to Malaya and after other states joined us, it again changed to West Malaysia (Malaysia Barat). This land has always belonged to the Malays. It's in the history" said Abdul Rashid without wanting to be drawn on the role of other races in Malaysia.


    He said power was a numbers game.


    He said as a former EC chairman, he knew how to keep the Malays in power.


    He said three re-delineation exercises of electoral borders, which were done during his time with the EC, had ensured Malays remained in power. "We did it in a proper way. Not illegally. The people who lost in the past general elections claimed that we did it wrong. But if we did, how did Barisan Nasional lose to the opposition in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor?" asked Abdul Rashid.


    Ungrateful Malays



    He said there were Malays now who criticised their own people for fighting and protecting Malay interests.


    "This we call Malay haprak (disgusting). They are not the real Malay, not like us (Perkasa members). We’re not those who would insult our own people.” Abdul Rashid also said 55% of the country’s 28 million population were aged 21 years and above.


    He said of the percentage only 6.3 million Malays registered as voters when the number should be 15.3 million. As for the Bumiputeras, Abdul Rashid said eligible voters should be around 19% but only 10% registered.


    "I got this from my research and from valid sources."


    He said with the combination of votes of Malays and Bumiputera, the Malays could easily retain political power.


    "Our aim is to get all the Malays of eligible age to register and to vote. Our numbers are bigger. Not only I want Malays to be in power but also we must be stronger."


    "The more they don't like us, the stronger we are. Even if you put Ibrahim Ali behind bars, Perkasa will keep moving forward."


    Perkasa the right organisation


    Abdul Rashid said that he is ready to face his critics over his move to join Perkasa.


    "It took me a while. I was looking for the right organisation as I do lots of charity and Perkasa is an organisation that is involved in a lot in charity and its agenda focuses on the Malays and the religion. I figure this is it. The best platform for me as I am a Malay and a Muslim," said Abdul Rashid.


    Asked if he feared that people would shun him now that he had linked up with Perkasa, Abdul Rashid had this to say to his critics.


    "Some did not like me when I was EC chairman but there were also those who loved me. It is the same with joining Perkasa. In fact, there will be more love than hate," said Abdul Rashid with a smile.


    Abdul Rashid managed six of Malaysia’s 12 general elections. He was EC secretary from 1979 and its chairman from 2000 to 2008.


    He retired shortly after the 2008 general election, a watershed polls, which among others galvanised calls to improve electoral laws and practices.



    That push culminated in a Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform last year which adopted new measures, including use of indelible ink and an expansion of postal voting facilities to more overseas Malaysians. – November 25, 2013.
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    Admin: Nothing new. We knew it all the while as it was clear as daylight.

    Ex-EC chief admits to gerrymandering?

    7:43PM Nov 25, 2013

    Former Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's speech at a Perkasa event yesterday appeared to be an admission of engaging in gerrymandering during his eight-year tenure as commission head.

    Outgoing Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said Abdul Rashid had, in a series of tweets, brazenly admitted to this when he said that three re-delineation exercises which he oversaw had ensured that Malays remain in power.

    "(The) former EC chair joining Perkasa is one thing. More important is his admission of (as I see it,) gerrymandering.

    "Some of the re-delineation worked against PAS. How is this for the Malays? Seems it was more to favour party in power. What an admission!" wrote Ambiga.

    Abdul Rashid, who was the EC chief from 2000 to 2008 and the EC deputy chief before that, had made the admission when he addressed the Federal Territories Perkasa meeting in Kampung Baru.

    "We did it in a proper way. Not illegally. The people who lost in the past general elections claimed that we did it wrong.

    "But if we did, how did (the BN) lose to the opposition in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor?” he is reported as saying by The Malaysian Insider.

    Was it legal?

    However, Ambiga, who was the Bar Council president before leading Bersih, said that this admission meant that the re-delineation exercises Abdul Rashid had conducted in the past were illegal.

    "(It) also means redelineation did not follow the Federal Constitution. Will this EC do the same? They should respond!" she said.

    According to Article 113 (2) of the Federal Constitution, the EC can review the boundaries of constituencies in accordance with Schedule 13.

    This schedule, among others states that the divisions should be done taking into account voters' convenience, local ties and disadvantages faced in rural constituencies.

    In an interview with Malaysiakini in September, Abdul Rashid said parties should not blame electoral boundaries for their losses but instead develop the right strategies to exploit the boundaries.

    "The BN had formulated the correct formula right from the first election in 1959 as it adjusted itself to the need to suit its election strategy to the geographical and racial pattern of the country's voting population.

    "Constitutency boundaries cannot be blamed for failure to attract voters within different sets of environments to win the majority of seats to form a government," Abdul Rashid had said.

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    Ex-EC chief's real fear - Umno Malays losing power




    COMMENT There are times, which now seem to be happening with increasing frequency, when I am overwhelmed with an ostrich-like desire to bury my head in the sand.

    Although it must be pointed out that the American Ostrich Association has dismissed this as a myth, explaining that the tale originated from the fact that male ostriches dig deep holes in the sand for the eggs.

    The rooster and hen then take turns to stick their heads into the hole to turn the eggs during the incubation period. It is not a reaction to fear.

    But the desire that creeps into my veins is not prompted by the need to check on my yet-to-hatch offsprings, but rather because of despair.

    This usually happens when the likes of Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali (right) or BN's Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin open their most dreaded orifice - their mouths - from which endless streams of foulness sprout.

    This week, the ostrich in me frantically searched for a soft patch of sand because of former Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

    This was a man entrusted with the noble task of safeguarding a fundamental democratic right and to assure the people that the electoral process would not be subjected to abuse or fraud.

    But now, after retirement, Rashid has revealed his true colours, which come in blinding shades of racism.

    He has become a member of a movement considered to be the local equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan which is under the auspices of its grandmaster, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He then hopped on a stage, minus the bedsheet and hood, and screamed ‘Malay power’.

    Rashid argued that he joined Perkasa to ensure that Malay political power is preserved, simply because Malaysia belongs to the Malays. And if one were to read between the lines, it means the non-Malays are mere serfs, never mind their contribution towards nation-building over the decades.

    He also reveals that the constituency re-delineation exercisescarried out during his tenure were executed, albeit within the ambit of the law, to ensure that the Malay race continues to lord over this land.

    Disadvantageous to PAS

    But his argument is fallacious, as pointed out by numerous quarters, including that serf who has been a huge thorn in the flesh of the ruling coalition, Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

    Ambiga (left) pointed out that the delineation exercises were alsodisadvantageous to the Islamic PAS, hence casting Abdul Rashid’s ‘Malays in perpetual power’ argument out of the window.

    Noting that the population figure of the Malays would always ensure that the race is in power, the outgoing Bersih leader contended that the constituency re-delineation exercises were done to favour BN instead.

    Similarly, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek quoted the words of former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who wrote in his book that whichever party wins the polls, Malaysia would be ruled by aMalay-dominated government.

    Even if one takes the racial breakdown in Pakatan Rakyat into account, the number of Malays in PKR and PAS, not forgetting the fistful in DAP, far outnumber the non-Malays in those parties.

    The only difference being that under the opposition bloc, the number of Chinese and Indian elected representatives have increased.

    So what is Rashid worried about? The answer is simple.

    The former EC chief is not losing sleep over the Malays being routed out of power. The nightmare, which is a collective one keeping him and countless others awake, is that the Malays in Umno could be evicted from Putrajaya.

    Having joined Perkasa, which is a fervent Umno supporter, even if not too fond of the so-called progressive types in the party’s ranks, Rashid has revealed the team he is a cheerleader for.

    But the burning question is whether he was a pom-pom-waving cheerleader during his tenure as the EC chief, when it was incumbent upon him to remain neutral, given his role as the appointed referee.

    So, to what extent did the former EC chief somersault over the rules to ensure that his team won the match? And is his successor doing the same?

    The EC is a reputable commission but in Malaysia, the commission is drowning in disrepute and disrespect.

    It is often accused of sticking its head into the sand when confronted with the flagrant abuses by the ruling coalition but ever vigilant to pounce on the slightest of transgressions involving the opposition.

    The commission has also been charged with working hand-in-glove with the ruling coalition to ensure a BN victory in elections, be it by hook or by crook.

    And, Rashid's remarks have lent credence to these claims.



    RK ANAND is a member of the Malaysiakini team.
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    Stop redelineation until problems are resolved




    COMMENT The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is deeply troubled to read statements made by the former Election Commission (EC) chair, Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, upon publicly declaring his membership in Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa).

    According to news reports, during his time in the Election Commission as secretary and chairperson, three redelineation exercises “ensured Malays remained in power”.

    Rashid further stated, “We did it in a proper way. Not illegally. The people who lost in the past general elections claimed that we did it wrong. But if we did, how did Barisan Nasional lose to the opposition in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor?”

    Rashid’s statement that the EC’s ethnicity-based redrawing of electoral boundaries was done “in a proper way” and “not illegally” is, at best, disingenuous.

    Under the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, one of the principles governing the delineation or delimitation of electoral boundaries is that “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.”

    How this was supposed to be carried out in practice was that a rural constituency may have fewer voters compared with an urban constituency of a similar or smaller geographic size, on the basis of logistical difficulties of serving rural voters.

    Bersih 2.0 recognises that the provision on rural weightage is widely interpreted as an implicit pro-Malay weightage, but the real picture is more complex. We would like to point out that Rashid’s claims, setting aside their ethically and constitutionally dubious nature, are not borne out by the numbers.

    The largest state seats in Selangor and Perak are Malay-majority - for example, the Malay-majority and previously BN-held Seri Serdang is twice the size of Chinese-majority and Pakatan-held Kinrara.

    With one assemblyperson to serve the 72,769 registered voters of Seri Serdang (and even more non-voting residents), can this be said to have given the Malay voters of that constituency an advantage?

    The provision on rural weightage is not even adhered to by the EC, as the rural parliamentary seat of Baling (93,376 in 2013) has considerably more voters than the urban parliamentary seat of Alor Setar (69,189 voters in 2013).

    Both are Malay-majority seats. It appears, in fact, that political rather than ethnic factors were at play in previous re-delineation exercises. As Bersih 2.0 has long suspected, gerrymandering and malapportionment served the interests of the political party in power.

    ‘EC bound by principles’

    The EC is bound by principles set down in the federal constitution and international standards in conducting its duties, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 1994 Declaration on Criteria for Free and Election.

    The measure of the EC’s success is not the victory of any particular political party, but whether their actions can meet these standards. Rashid’s statements lend credence to Bersih 2.0’s long-running contention that the Malaysian Election Commission is not an independent, non-partisan election management body.

    That the former EC chair felt he could make these statements openly, with not even the barest recognition of public accountability, speaks volumes about the political culture which the current EC inherited and continues to perpetuate.

    Bersih 2.0 has severe reservations about the ability of the current EC to succeed, where its predecessors failed, in exercising its responsibilities in an ethical, non-partisan and independent manner.

    Testimonies during the People’s Tribunal in September 2013 spoke of active political party members serving as EC staff during the 13th general election (GE13). It was previously reported that the current chair and deputy chair of the EC are Umno party members.

    The EC’s reluctance to clean the electoral rolls despite repeated evidence casting doubt over their integrity has been noted. Further, observations by Pemantau Pilihan Raya Rakyat (Pemantau) during GE13 noted that flagrant violations of election-related laws took place with impunity, in addition to the EC’s complete lack of accountability over the issue of the indelible ink.

    Bersih 2.0 strongly urges that the current redelineation exercise be halted until the electoral rolls are cleaned up and new Election Commission members appointed with the participation of civil society. Rashid’s statements join a long line of disappointing and troubling revelations on the conduct of the EC, but the rot can and should stop here.



    The steering committee of Bersih 2.0 comprises Ambiga Sreenevasan (co-chairperson), A Samad Said (co-chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K, Awang Abdullah, Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.
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    EC secretariat claims it 'followed Rashid's orders'




    Election Commission deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar has declined to comment on his former boss, ex-EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman's statement that electoral borders were deliberately changed so Malays would remain in power.

    However, Wan Ahmad (left), who was EC secretary when the last redelineation exercise took place in 2002, stressed that the secretariat merely took instructions from the seven-member commission which was then headed by Rashid.

    "In the EC, the (commission) members are the ones who have the powers and responsibilities. The secretary and officers are only doing things that are decided (by them).

    "In 2002, I was the secretary, and not in the position to do anything else. I just implemented the decisions by Tan Sri Rashid, who was chairman at the time," Wan Ahmad told Malaysiakiniyesterday.

    However, he refused to elaborate further, especially on what was reportedly said by Rashid, as he had yet to read the news report.

    "I was informed (about it) by my officer, but I have not read the report so I wouldn't want to comment (on it). I was also not there when he said it, so I don't know if the report quoted him correctly," he said.

    The Malaysian Insiderreported that Rashid (right) had, at a Malay rights group Perkasa event on Sunday, said the three previous redelineation exercises which he conducted were done to ensure Malays kept political power.

    However, the news portal quoted him as saying that it was done "in a proper way" and "not illegally".

    This was slammed by electoral reform group Bersih as an admission of gerrymandering, and Bersih demanded that the present EC explain if it will follow the same principles.

    EC doing research before redelineation

    When contacted by Malaysiakini, Rashid said he would respond to the allegation soon.

    His successor, EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has taken pains to stress that the current redelineation exercise will not be following the principles set out by the previous commission.

    Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad said that EC state officers are now conducting extensive research to prepare for the coming redelineation exercise.

    "The country has changed a lot in the last 10 years, be it geographically and topographically. Lots of these new residential areas were palm oil fields or rubber plantations before.

    "Ten years ago, Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara and Suria Damansara were all trees and shrubs. Redelineation is good for the people because people move to new places," Wan Ahmad said.

    He said that once all the research is done, the EC will display the notice for redelineation and the exercise will have to be completed within two years, in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

    The next general election, Malaysia's 14th, will be fought based on the new electoral boundaries.

    Meanwhile, national news agency Bernama today reported that Wan Ahmad will be retiring tomorrow after 16 years of service with the EC, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 66.

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    EC denies redelineation to preserve Malay power



    The consituency redelineation exercise the Election Commission will soon undertake will not be done with the aim of safeguarding Malay political power, EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Abdul Yusuf said.

    Instead, Abdul Aziz said, the exercise will follow the principles set out in the Federal Constitution.

    "Protecting Malay power is not a principle the EC uses to guide the redelineation process," he said in a text message to Malaysiakini.

    Abdul Aziz (right) stressed that parts of the Federal Constitution relevant to the EC in its redelineation exercise are Schedule 13 and Articles 2, 3, 3A, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, Items 116 and 117, as well as Sections 1 and 11.

    These sections of the Federal Constitution, among others, state that electoral borders must factor in the local environment and voter sizes.

    "The EC takes into consideration the number of voters, geographical size of the constituency, facilities provided by the local government and voter convenience, be it urban, semi-urban or rural areas.

    "As far as possible, we will try to reflect the (ethnic) composition of the Malaysian population," he said.

    He was responding to a question on whether the coming redelineation exercise will be undertaken following the same principles as in the previous exercises.

    Manipulation of electoral boundaries

    According to a news report on Monday, former EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said that he had overseen three of such exercises where electoral borders were drawn to maintain Malay political power.

    However, he was quoted by The Malaysian Insider as saying that it was done in a "proper" manner and not "illegally".

    Rashid's statement, made at a Malay rights group Perkasa event on Sunday in which Rashid (left) is a new member, was seen by electoral reform group Bersih as an admission of gerrymandering.

    Bersih's outgoing co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan called on the EC to explain if it is also following the same principle as set out by the previous commission.

    When contacted, Rashid said that he would respond to Bersih's claims soon.

    EC officers are currently collating data to prepare for the redelineation exercise which had been postponed due to the 13th general election. The last exercise was undertaken in 2002.

    Redelineation is required by law to be done every eight years or so to reflect the changes in population.

    Gerrymandering, where electoral boundaries are manipulated to favour one particular political party or ethnic group, has become a major issue in the wake of the general election in May, where the opposition bagged 53 percent of the popular votes but failed to win enough seats to take power.

    There have been previous cases where changes to constituencies were blatantly made by the EC, allegedly to favour the ruling BN coalition.
    EC secretariat claims it 'followed Rashid's orders'
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    A BN party wants new EC that satisfies all

    5:48PM Nov 29, 2013

    It is time to refresh the Election Commission (EC) members since its independence, credibility and integrity has been challenged, Gerakan said today.

    The party’s deputy president Cheah Soon Hai said that he was “utterly shocked and upset” over former EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s statement that he had indulged in gerrymanderingduring his eight-year tenure. Cheah said this was simply hard to stomach and urged EC to explain the matter.

    Therefore, Cheah (left) said in a statement that he proposed “the formation of a special selection committee comprising bipartisan MPs and representatives from NGOs for the selection and appointment of EC chairperson and members”.

    He added that EC members have to be “ credible individuals who enjoy public confidence”.

    More than that, Cheah also echoed the Coalition for Free and Fair Election’s (Bersih) urging that EC clean up the electoral roll first before attempting any redelineation exercise.

    “This is to ensure that there are no more dubious names in response to allegations of phantom voters or influx of ‘foreign voters’.

    He also suggested that EC study the possibility of adopting a mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) in place of the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. He said this would give proper representation to people of all races.

    Gerakan, one of BN’s component parties, has fared badly in the last two general elections. The party, which had ruled Penang for nearly four decades before 2008, only secured one parliamentary seat in the 13th GE.
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    Rashid has virtually confirmed that previous constituency redelineation exercises violated the “one man, one vote, one value” principle and establishing that the Election Commission totally lacks transparency, credibility, integrity and professionalism



    The nation must thank Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, the one man with the most experience as Secretary and Chairman of the Election Commission who managed not only six of 13 general elections but responsible for three of the four constituency redelineations in Malaysia, for admitting that the Election Commission has never lived up to its constitutional responsibility of being an independent and non-partisan body but was only an appendage of UMNO/Barisan Nasional to ensure their perpetual hold to political power.

    Rashid’s joining of Perkasa is shocking enough, but this is nothing compared to his virtual confession that he had been responsible for the gerrymandering of the parliamentary and state assembly constituencies in three of the four constituency redelineations in the nation’s history.

    Justifying his joining Perkasa, Rashid said that power was a numbers game and he could ensure that the Malays remain in power as this was the agenda of three constituency redelineation exercises conducted during his time with the Election Commission.

    Rashid has not only confirmed, but become the most notable witness, of the fact that previous constituency redelineations were gerrymandering exercises which violated the “one man, one vote, one value” principle and establishing that the Election Commission totally lacks transparency, credibility, integrity and professionalism.

    But these “gerrymandering” exercises were not to ensure that the Malays remain in power but to ensure that UMNO/BN remain in power as they were also directed against Malays not in Umno.


    This is best illustrated by the last redelineation exercise which came into force in 2003 and was used for the 2004, 2008 and 2014 general elections.

    The Election Commission violated three redelineation guidelines in the 2003 redelineation of constituencies causing further deviation from the “one man, one vote, one value” principle, viz:


    • Deviation from the redelineation principle that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats;
    • Interpretation of “rural weightage” to place Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah above the parliamentary quota in peninsular Malaysia for the first time in the history of constituency redelineation; and
    • Reversal of the process to narrow the disparity in the number of electors among the constituencies started in the 1984 and 1994 redelineation exercises.


    In the 2003 constituency redelineation, Johore was allocated six new parliamentary seats. Based on Johore’s allocation (totalling 26 seats) and the Election Commission’s redelineation guideline in previous exercises that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats, a fair and equitable redelineation of the electoral constituencies in 2003 would be to allocate ten new parliamentary seats to Selangor (giving Selangor a total of 27 seats instead of 22) and one new parliamentary seat each for Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.


    This is because Selangor had the most number of registered voters with 1,368,693 voters (an increase of 44.18% from the previous redelineation in 1993) as compared to Johore which was second with 1,223,532 voters (an increase of 24.5%).


    Similarly, Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah should be allocated one new parliamentary seat each in view of the 16.2%, 21.76% and 17.4% increase of voters respectively since the last redelineation, as Negri Sembilan and Malacca were allocated one new seat each with 20.04% and 23% increase of voters respectively. Pahang, with 21.39% increase in voters, (less than the 21.76% increase registered by Terengganu), was allocated three new parliamentary seats.


    The reason for violating this redelineation guideline that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats is purely political, as giving 10 new parliamentry seats to Selangor would be quite dicey politically for Umno/BN as in the 1999 general election, Umno/BN only secured 53.84% of the total votes cast, losing six state assembly seats to the Opposition.


    Giving six new parliamentary seats to Johore, however, is regarded as a “sure bet” for BN/Umno as Johore was regarded as their fortress, with Umno/BN securing 71% of the votes cast in the state in the 1999GE, sweeping all the 20 Parliamentary and 40 State Assembly seats in the State.


    Similarly the refusal to allocate additional seats for Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah as warranted by past redelineation practices was purely political, as it was directed againsst PAS to ensure that Umno (and not Malays) is entrenched in power at the federal level.


    Very pertinent about the lack of independence and professionalism of the Election Commission in the past redelineation exercise is the statement yesterday by the DAP MP for Serdang, Dr. Ong Kian Ming, who said:
    “I was part of an Institute Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS ) study team from UKM looking at the constituency delineation process and I remember distinctly Rashid telling the members of the study team that he had received instructions from then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad not to add any seats in the three northern states and also to create more ethnically ‘mixed’ seats.


    “The presumption then was that non-Malays would not vote for the opposition, namely PAS, and having more non-Malay voters in these seats would help the BN.”
    Rashid has clearly betrayed the constitutional trust bestowed on him when he was secretary and chairman of the Election Commission and is a living witness why the present batch of Election Commission members should be replaced by a truly independent, impartial and professional Election Commission, who commands the confidence of all political parties and NGOs to conduct the new constituency redelineation in a fair, democratic and unbiased manner.


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