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Thread: Delimitation: Its about democratic reform, Sinchew Daily

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Delimitation: Its about democratic reform, Sinchew Daily

    It’s about democratic reform – Sin Chew Daily

    JANUARY 07, 2014

    The dispute over how constituencies should be delineated has become a major focus of the country's politics, after Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof disclosed that the Prime Minister's Department is expected to table the constituency redelineation motion in March.

    According to Article 113(2) of the Federal Constitution, a redelineation exercise must be carried out every eight years and the process must be completed within two years. The last redelineation was done in 2003, meaning that the work has not been carried out for 11 years. It is not a healthy phenomenon for a nation pursuing democratic election system.

    Redelineation is supposed to be done in 2011, but since the motion must obtain two-thirds majority of support in the Parliament to be passed – and the BN had no such advantage at that time, while the general election might be held at anytime – the work was delayed. Therefore, the constituencies delineated in 2011 was used in the general election last year.

    Pakatan Rakyat failed to seize power after winning 53% of votes but gained only 89 parliamentary seats, while the BN won 47% votes and 133 seats.

    There are two factors causing the paradoxical phenomenon.

    Firstly, under the "one vote one seat" rule, a candidate gains a seat, regardless of whether he wins one vote or 10,000 votes. Secondly, due to "unfair constituency delineation", some constituencies have more than 100,000 voters while some have only 20,000 voters, and they can choose only one lawmaker.

    The first factor is related to voters' choices and the second factor is closely related to the EC. The impartiality and credibility of the EC have always been the subject of criticism. The analysis report of the 13th general election has also reflected the fact that the electoral system is in urgent need of reform. And how to fairly delineate constituencies is undoubtedly a crucial point here.

    If we look back at history, the British colonial government had left us a relatively fair electoral system. However, the amendments to the Constitution in 1962 and 1973, to increase the gap limit of voters from 15% to 50% and from 50% to unrestricted, have resulted in serious imbalance between popular votes and seats gained in the following general elections.

    According to the EC's definition of constituency, there are three categories of constituencies, namely urban constituencies with more than 60,000 voters, semi-urban constituencies with 40,000 to 60,000 and rural areas constituencies with 20,000 to 40,000 voters. Such a classification method allows urban constituencies to have more than 10 times the number of voters in rural areas, tantamount to weakening urban voters' right to vote. Obviously, it does not meet the democratic principle of "one man one vote".

    Unfair constituency delineation is a means to stay in power. Even in countries claiming the pursuit of democracy and human rights supremacy, the gerrymander game could still be found, namely through arbitrary division of voting districts to "concentrate votes" or "distribute votes", to achieve the purpose of manipulating election.

    To avoid such unfairness, stringent restriction on the gap limit of voters should be one of the effective ways.

    To be fair, there is no such thing as an absolutely fair electoral system in the world, but we can develop some fair principles to further improve our electoral system. Constituency redelineation is the first step to improve the electoral system.

    It should reflect the population proportion of each constituency to make election in line with the principles of equal value for all votes, fair delineation, and properly mixed demography.

    More importantly, they should never delineate constituencies in a way that are disadvantageous to minority races.

    We hope that the EC can comply with the world's democracy tide and truly show its independence and impartially along the process of redelineating constituencies, or the motion to redelineate constituencies, is unlikely to be supported by the alternative coalition. It is a game closely related to democratic reform and thus, there will be an intense struggle between the ruling and alternative coalitions. The development of the situation deserves our close attention. – Sin Chew Daily, January 7, 2014.

    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    EC: Constituency re-delineation motion expected in March

    2014-01-06 11:31

    Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
    Sin Chew Daily

    PETALING JAYA, Jan 5 (Sin Chew Daily) – The Prime Minister's Department is expected to table the constituency re-delineation motion in March to balance the number of voters in each constituency and not to increase the people's burden in electing lawmakers based on Article 13 of the Federal Constitution, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof.

    He said that the EC will announce the start of re-delineation work in early this year and the recommendation report is expected to be tabled in the Parliament in 2015.

    Abdul Aziz told Sin Chew Daily that the EC will complete the work within two years after the motion is passed and the recommendation report will be tabled in the Parliament.

    He said that since the number of voters has substantially increased, and the last delineation work was done 10 years ago, re-demarcation is imperative, particularly for constituencies with more than 100,000 voters.

    It is ascertained that the seats in Dewan Rakyat will be increased to 280 from the current 242 after the renovation work is completed.

    Abdul Aziz clarified that additional seats in the Dewan Rakyat and constituency re-delineation are two different matters. He also stressed that the EC has not discussed with the government over how many parliamentary seats to be added following the re-delineation of constituencies.

    He said that however, in addition to considering the number of voters, the EC will also compare the number of voters in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, as well as the number of voters in Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak.

    According to the constituency definition developed by the EC, there should be more than 60,000 voters for each urban constituency, 40,000 to 60,000 voters in each semi-urban constituency, and 20,000 to 40,000 voters in each rural constituency.

    Under the Federal Constitution, a re-delineation exercise must be carried out every eight years and the process must be completed within two years. The country's last re-delineation work was done in 2003.

    Abdul Aziz stressed that the EC's constituency re-delineation and addition parliamentary seat proposals must obtain two-thirds majority in the Parliament to be passed and if only constituency re-delineation work is proposed without involving the increase of parliamentary seats, it requires only a simple majority.

    It is understood that BN lawmakers from East Malaysia have requested the EC to comply with the protocol when Sabah and Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia with Malaya, namely to reserve one-third of parliamentary seats for East Malaysia's lawmakers, but the EC has not made a decision yet.

    Currently, there are 57 East Malaysia members, or about 25% of the total 222 MPs, in the Parliament.

    Negri Sembilan opposition chief and Seremban member of parliament Anthony Loke Siew Fook said that Pakatan Rakyat predicted that the EC would add two to 30 parliamentary constituencies and most of them would be in Selangor, Johor and Negeri Sembilan.

    However, he said that although Sabah and Sarawak have less voters compared to Peninsula, some large constituencies and some with more voters might be divided into two, based on the government's political considerations.

    When being asked about the Malaysia protocol of reserving one-third parliamentary seats for East Malaysia's MP, Loke said that it is quite impossible due to the small number of voters for East Malaysia's parliamentary constituencies.

    In addition, DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the EC must respect the principle of one person one work when conducting the re-delineation work, and hopefully it would not affect the existing seat ratio of East Malaysia (25.6%).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Don't be fooled. The EC could have been at it since 2011 and may be ready now. If they spring a surprise, the people have only 1 month to organize a group of 100 voters to object. If they cannot manage it, it's game over.

    ‘Seat boundaries can only be redrawn in 2016’

    Posted on 8 January 2014 - 12:08am
    Last updated on 8 January 2014 - 09:26am Karen Arukesamy

    PETALING JAYA (Jan 7, 2014): The Election Commission (EC) will only be able to redraw the electoral boundaries in 2016 after submitting its report on the implementation to Parliament.

    The EC is "considering" increasing the number of seats in this exercise, its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said.

    "The EC will make the announcement of its proposal to re-delineate the electoral boundaries.

    "From the date of the announcement, we are given two years to submit our report on the changes to the Prime Minister who will table it in Parliament," Abdul Aziz told theSun today.

    "Who said it will be tabled in March? It has not even been announced," he said, when referred to a report in a Chinese daily recently.

    He said Parliament needs a simple majority to redraw boundaries but would have to amend the Federal Constitution to increase the current 222 parliamentary seats, which requires a two-thirds majority.

    The last time the redelineation exercise took place was on March 21, 2003 when the number of seats was increased from 192 to the current 222.

    Abdul Aziz said the biggest challenge would be in ensuring there is approximately equal percentage of voters with a good racial mix in each constituency.

    The exercise may face a problem since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has stated that it will "fiercely oppose" any re-delineation of boundaries by the EC's current leadership as the electoral roll and dubious voters issues have not been resolved.

    Election watchdog Bersih has also expressed a similar view, stating that it will launch another rally if the electoral roll is not cleaned up.


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