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Thread: Delimitation Forum Day 2

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008

    Delimitation Forum Day 2

    In ‘real politics’, Umno uses redelineation to ease infighting, says political analyst

    FEBRUARY 16, 2014

    Dr Shaharuddin Badarudin speaks at the Bar Council's public forum at MBPJ Civic Hall in Petaling Jaya today. – The Malaysian Insider by Afif Abd Halim, February 16, 2014.The redelineation exercise is not only used by the ruling government to stay in power, but to reduce infighting within Umno in the past, said an academic today.

    Academy of Democratic Education and Citizenship director Dr Shaharuddin Badarudin said Umno had over the years used the creation of new constituencies to solve conflicts within the party.

    "When we talk about redelineation, we cannot avoid talking about real politics. Umno has the power, so to appease the infighting within it, new boundaries were created. It happened before in several states," said Shaharuddin at a forum organised by the Bar Council in Petaling Jaya today.

    He said this was one of the reasons why the redelineation was carried out.

    However, Shaharuddin said, the next redelineation exercise which will be carried out by EC will be risky to the Barisan Nasional government.

    "They know they cannot get the two-thirds majority anymore. So right now, they have to put their thinking cap on, to carefully choose which formula to undertake. Will it be based on the redelineation exercise carried out after 2003 or before it?" said Shaharuddin.

    He said the new exercise will also see an increase in the number of seats.

    "I anticipated that the new boundaries will also come with additional seats in three main states which had been 'penalised' for the way voters voted in the 1999 general election, namely Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah," said Shaharuddin.

    He said it was the “talk” among the analysts that the Malays were “penalised” for the 1999 general election which resulted in more mixed constituencies in the 2003 redelineation exercise.

    An overwhelming number of Malays voted for PAS in these states during that election, resulting in the Islamists party capturing Terengganu, making inroads in Kedah and retaining Kelantan with a thumping majority.

    "But the move has back fired. It was seen in 2008 and 2013 election where the Chinese votes turned against the Barisan Nasional," said Shaharuddin.

    He said while BN will hold discussion with the opposition, the ruling government needed to figure out whether they are going to create more “ethnic-based” constituencies where the majority race is only one group or based on a “rich-and-poor” community.

    "We know BN still can gain votes from the ‘poor’. An ethnic-concentrated constituent is a bit risky as well, as the Malay vote is also unpredictable," said Shaharuddin. – February 16, 2014.

  2. #2
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    ‘Slight majority’ of East Malaysians want to secede, warns academic

    FEBRUARY 16, 2014
    LATEST UPDATE: FEBRUARY 16, 2014 03:17 PM

    Prof James Chin of Monash University Malaysia speaking at the Bar Council's forum on the electoral system, in Petaling Jaya, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, February 16, 2014.There are growing calls by ordinary East Malaysians for Sarawak and Sabah to leave Malaysia as they feel that the 50-year-old federation has not benefitted them, a Sarawakian academic said today.

    "If you have a frank discussion with ordinary Sarawakians and Sabahans, there will be a slight majority to want Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia.

    "They feel that since day one, the federal government has not treated Sabah and Sarawak as separate entities as had been promised since 1963," said Professor James Chin of Monash University Malaysia.

    Speaking at a forum organised by the Bar Council today, Chin claimed that although this was the voice of the grassroots, the chances of Sabah and Sarawak seceding from Malaysia were unlikely as political leaders and business elites would not support such a move.

    The elites of East Malaysia, both in the ruling parties and the opposition, are loath to sever the economic ties they have built with the Peninsula, he said.

    Although they were still dissatisfied with Putrajaya's treatment, the elites, especially those in Barisan Nasional, would likely only demand more parliamentary share for Sabah and Sarawak.

    "Sabah and Sarawak have different demographics and history and the ruling government has created fault lines in Sabah and Sarawak that did not exist before," said Chin, a political scientist.

    Secession is considered treason under Malaysian law.

    Chin made this claim during the question-and-answer session at the forum on electoral reform in Petaling Jaya.

    He said the political elites of East Malaysia want one third of all seats in Parliament allocated to East Malaysia, which currently has a 25% share of all parliamentary seats.

    "This was made known during the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform in 2011, where East Malaysian elected representatives came out with a consensus on their demands.

    "The political elites don't want to secede. It's only the grassroots in Sabah and Sarawak." – February 16, 2014.

  3. #3
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    Delimitation Forum Day 1, 15th Feb 2014

    Malays losing out in unfair drawing of electoral boundaries, say analysts

    FEBRUARY 15, 2014
    LATEST UPDATE: FEBRUARY 15, 2014 06:05 PM

    Associate Professor of Singapore Management University Dr Bridget Welsh makes her presentation during the Bar Council's public forum at MBPJ Civic Hall, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, February 15, 2014.The Malay supremacist argument that election boundaries were drawn up in such a way as to give the Malay-Muslim community more power since the 1970s has actually done the reverse, a forum was told today.

    Singapore Management University associate professor Dr Bridget Welsh said the votes of Malays living in urban areas are now worth less in value than those of Malays who live in rural areas because of disproportions between voter populations in rural and urban seats.

    She was among speakers in the "Towards a Fairer Electoral System" forum that pointed that more Malays are moving and living in urban areas specifically in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and that their votes, with those of other urbanites, would be worth less if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) continues to influence drawing election boundaries according to ethnic lines.

    Their argument refutes claims, particularly by former Election Commission chief Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, that the commission had drawn up electoral boundaries, called redelineation, to protect Malay political power.

    When he was in charge, Abdul Rashid had overseen four redelineation exercises.

    Welsh said that Malaysia's unequal electoral constituencies – where sparsely populated rural seats have more parliamentary representation than densely populated urban seats – have led to a situation where different Malaysians have different sets of political power.

    "So you have Malays who go and live in Butterworth (Penang) for example, whose vote is one third the value of their parents who live in the kampungs," said Welsh who has wide experience studying Malaysian politics.

    "This discriminates against people who migrate to urban centres. It discriminates against the middle class and the young. This is not an issue of discrepancies between ethnic groups anymore," she said.

    Abdul Rashid's statement concerning redelineation was made last year well after he had retired from the EC.

    His statement on what occurred under him had proved claims by electoral reform groups such as Bersih 2.0 and Tindak Malaysia and political parties such as those in Pakatan Rakyat that the redelineation exercises were flawed and biased.

    In her presentation to the forum, Welsh argued that Malaysia was moving away from the five international best practices that are supposed to underlie any redelineation exercise, namely, impartiality, equality, transparency, representativeness and non-discrimination.

    She said redelineation was becoming more motivated by ethnic sentiments than by citizenship, and this was dividing Malaysians.

    But the ruling coalition's use of redelineation to cement its power eventually backfires down the line.

    This is seen in how the aim of creating seats with diverse communities or mixed seats in the last exercise in 2003, supposedly because non-Malays were then solidly behind BN, cost the ruling coalition in the 2008 general election.

    "Political players will adjust according to their situation... So if the ruling coalition continues to try and use redelineation to strengthen their power and polarise Malaysia, it will only weaken its own position," Welsh said. – February 15, 2014.

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    Vote Barisan out, not secede, PKR tells East Malaysians

    FEBRUARY 17, 2014

    Sabahans and Sarawakians dissatisfied with Putrajaya's broken promises should vote Barisan Nasional (BN) out of their states to obtain autonomy promised when Malaysia was formed in 1963, PKR leaders representing both states said today.

    Sabah PKR chief Datuk Lajim Ukin and his Sarawak counterpart Baru Bian, concurred that while many East Malaysians hold the sentiment that the states should secede from the federation, it would be better to vote Pakatan Rakyat into power, rather than leave.

    "Of course we cannot secede or we would be charged for treason. But I think we can ask the voters for a political solution," Baru said in Kajang today.

    "We ask voters to look at what we have been doing and that gives an assurance that if we take over the state government, we would be fulfilling the promises made to keep to the 18 and 20-point agreements," he added.

    Their comments came following a claim by political analyst James Chin yesterday that Sabah and Sarawak grassroots would like to secede from Malaysia, although chances of it happening is unlikely.

    Prior to forming Malaysia, Sabah had entered into a 20-point agreement while Sarawak signed an 18-point agreement to safeguard interests, rights and autonomy of the people in the respective states.

    Baru said the ground sentiments were that East Malaysians "felt cheated" and that their living standards are now worse off than those in the peninsula.

    "The potential by-election in Balingian and a snap election in Sarawak is an opportunity for Sarawakians to vote for a new government in Sarawak," Baru said.

    Lajim also said that "Sabahans are still loyal to Malaysia".

    "But many promises made by the federal government have been abandoned," said Lajim.

    Dissent by East Malaysians has risen over the widening wealth and opportunities gap between residents in the peninsula and those in Borneo.

    Last November, Parliament rejected the motion to review the 18 and 20-point agreements, saying they were "non urgent".

    The review of the agreements is supposed to be conducted every decade from the time it was signed in 1962.

    However, the reviews are overdue by more than 40 years.

    Baru said PKR will review the agreement which brought Sarawak into Malaysia if it wins the next state election. – February 17, 2014.

  5. #5
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    Not easy for Sabah, Sarawak to leave Malaysia, says constitutional expert


    FEBRUARY 17, 2014

    Sabah and Sarawak can only leave Malaysia after obtaining support from other states and the Conference of Rulers, a constitutional expert said, in response to a claim that there have been growing calls from East Malaysians to secede.

    Former International Islamic University Malaysia academic Dr Abdul Aziz Bari (pic) said the two Borneo states could not secede on their own.
    "That cannot happen. Article 2 of the Federal Constitution talks about admission on new territories and thus secession can only take place if Parliament allows it, like Singapore in 1965," he said, while noting that Singapore was in fact expelled and did not leave the Federation.

    The Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore formed Malaysia, but Singapore was later expelled to become a republic in 1965.

    "Indeed, then Singapore chief minister Lee Kuan Yew preferred to stay in Malaysia, but then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman just did not want them," he added.

    Yesterday, Professor James Chin of Monash University Malaysia told participants of a forum on electoral reforms in Petaling Jaya that since day one East Malaysians felt the federal government had not been treating Sabah and Sarawak as separate entities as promised since 1963.

    Aziz said Tunku was criticised for kicking Singapore out and was even questioned years later by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for not consulting the Conference of Rulers.

    "So now, if some people in Sabah and Sarawak are not happy and would like to leave the Federation, they have to get support from other states and also from the Conference of Rulers , given the Singapore lesson," Aziz said.

    He said Tunku Abdul Rahman could have opted to declare Emergency in Singapore and put the state under Federal control.

    "It may be said that the imposition of emergency in Sarawak in 1966 - the problem between Tunku and Sarawak chief minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan - perhaps may be cited as the preferred approach," he said.

    He added that the issue of leaving the Federation had surfaced before the 1999 general election when some leaders from PAS made a slip about it.

    "But of course even some federal leaders also has used it before.

    "Another former minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein had accused Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun of harbouring such an intention and something which led to the formation of the Berjaya party in 1976," he said.

    Mustapha, one of the founders of Malaysia, was the Sabah chief minister between 1967-1975 and had a thorny relationship with the Federal government.

    Although the central government, represented by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, was a partner of Usno led by Mustapha, they were worried about certain positions taken by the latter, in particular, his intention or threat to secede Sabah from Malaysia.

    Aziz said leaving the Federation was not necessarily the best option.

    "(The current Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri ) Abdul Taib Mahmud used to say that being in the Federation, Sarawak does not have to worry about a lot of things, such as defence and internal security," he said.

    He said that even in more developed democracies, secession was not always convincing.

    "In the United Kingdom where there is no problem like what we have in Malaysia, the option of leaving has failed to gain traction be it in Scotland or Wales," he added. - February 17, 2014.

  6. #6
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    Saifuddin tells election body not to ‘force’ the people and ‘buy’ the people

    FEBRUARY 16, 2014
    LATEST UPDATE: FEBRUARY 16, 2014 01:14 PM

    Well regarded Barisan Nasional leader Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) has added his voice to demands for electoral reforms, urging the Election Commission to make the process of drawing new electoral boundaries more open to public participation and scrutiny.

    The commission, he said, must stop its way of doing things behind closed doors and adapt to the new reality that Malaysians want a more direct say in how electoral boundaries are drawn.

    "The EC must subscribe fully to the principle that the government should be of the people and for the people.

    "It should not be about of the people, force the people and buy the people," said Saifuddin in a video presentation at an electoral reforms forum in Petaling Jaya, Selangor today.

    The forum saw civil society groups such as Tindak Malaysia and Engage putting forth alternative electoral boundary maps that they plan to take to the EC, whose redelineation exercise begins in March.

    They plan to recruit 100 voters in each constituency to present these plans to the EC during the objection period, before the new draft boundaries are presented to the Prime Minister.

    In his video speech, Saifuddin criticised the EC for being silent and defensive over demands for electoral reforms including for fairer media and clean-up of the electoral roll.

    "There are even times when the EC is caught defending the government. This is not what it is supposed to do. Instead they should concentrate on maintaining their integrity."

    Saifuddin also urged activists to agree on shared principles before they meet the commission during its consultation process.

    "I suspect that the commission will have their own maps drawn up. So we need to agree on principles first to prevent gerrymandering and malappropriation.

    "We also need to educate the public on the importance of redelineation and to ensure that we have 100 people for the objection period," said Saifuddin. – February 16, 2014.


    Published: Sunday February 16, 2014 MYT 5:53:00 PM
    Updated: Sunday February 16, 2014 MYT 5:58:51 PM, The Star

    EC must face needs of current society and democratic values, says Saifuddin Abdullah


    Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

    PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has to face the needs of a current, contemporary society and democratic values, said Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

    He said that the demands of democracy in Malaysia were changing due to a variety of factors.

    "There is the advent of information and communication technology and the new media.

    “There is also the emergence of a new social consciousness and new social movements, and we are already moving into the third phase of democracy, and from a national context, people are becoming more educated, then comes the urban factor and thirdly, there is a strong and growing middle class," said Saifuddin.

    Saifuddin, who spoke on Sunday via a pre-recorded video at the “Towards A Fairer Electoral System” forum organised by the Malaysian Bar Council, said a new grouping of Malaysians were emerging as a social force that could shape election outcomes.

    "There is now a grouping of individuals who are not political party card-carrying members; they are independent and they are the young professionals, the educated, the technocrats, the entrepreneurs, academicians and activists.

    “There was a time when they were quite small related to the numbers of the electorate, but the relationship now is about 30 percent of the electorate and the number is growing bigger," said Saifuddin.

    He elaborated on the impact of this group, who he said gained force with the 12th General Elections in March 2008.

    "This group consisted of individuals who may not have known or been in contact with each other. But starting with the 12th General Elections, they are contacting each other and sharing on social media, so they have an opinion of whom to vote on ballot day," said Saifuddin.

    .................................................. ..........

    TheSundaily, 16th Feb 2014

    Act and be seen as independent, EC told

    Posted on 16 February 2014 - 04:08pm
    Last updated on 16 February 2014 - 06:51pm

    KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16, 2014): The Election Commission (EC) often seems more like a representative of the government rather than an independent body, a former deputy minister said.

    Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said this is evident in a debate involving the body and former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk S Ambiga.

    "During a debate between the EC deputy chairman and Ambiga that was organised by Sinar Harian, the EC was seen defending the government rather than their own credibility," Saifuddin said in a pre-recorded video message at an electoral reform forum here.

    Saifuddin, who is former deputy minister of higher education and Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief executive, said the EC lacks passion in their duty to ensure a free and fair election and can often be seen as bias.

    Furthermore, he said the EC seems defensive or just plain silent on major issues raised by electoral reform groups such as on phantom voters, equal access to mainstream media, and malapportionment.

    He then urged the EC to engage with the electorate during the redelineation exercise to ensure that their views are noted and constituency boundaries are redrawn in a satisfactory manner.

    "The EC had already announced the redelineation exercise, which could take about two years to complete; there needs to be more consultation with the public before the new boundaries are announced," Saifuddin said.

    He also urged the public to be ready to do their part if the EC failed to engage with the electorate when redrawing constituency boundaries.

    "The public will have a month to push for a review when it (redelineation) is done. Are we ready to have 100 voters in each constituency protest over the boundaries?" Saifuddin asked.

    He also opined that correcting the malapportionment of voters in constituencies should be the EC's priority during their redelineation exercise.


  7. #7
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    How many Malaysians does it take to change the future of elections?


    FEBRUARY 17, 2014

    All of 100,000 Malaysians. That is the number that is needed to fight the next major battle for Malaysia's political future that looms next month.

    For at the next parliamentary sitting, the Election Commission (EC) will table a draft of the country’s new electoral boundaries. If passed, it will determine the fate of all future general elections for the next 10 years.

    But instead of taking to the streets and getting tear-gassed, the next fight for electoral reform will need 100,000 people to sign their names and stay in the constituencies they vote in, as explained by Tindak Malaysia’s founder PY Wong (pic) over the weekend.

    Their signatures, he said, will be used on forms as objectors in Tindak Malaysia's campaign to get the EC to draw electoral constituencies that accurately reflect the wishes of Malaysians in a general election.

    “These 100,000 and our maps are a powerful tool,” said Wong, when met after a weekend forum on electoral reform that his group organised with the Malaysian Bar Council.

    Wong explained that Tindak Malaysia set 100,000 as the target as by law, objections in each constituency require 100 voters from that area. Since there are 222 parliamentary seats and 576 state seats, the group needs a minimum of 79,800 Malaysians to come forward.

    "But we set it at 100,000 ‎or 120 people per constituency just in case people drop out at the last minute."

    If no one challenges the EC next month (and Tindak Malaysia believes it has a unique, never-before-done approach), then Malaysians will just have to be satisfied with this fact – like the last one, the 14th general election will produce a government that does not reflect the people's collective will.

    Free but not fair elections

    The reason that the ruling coalition got to form the government even with less than half of all votes cast (47%) has been made pretty clear by Tindak Malaysia and a host of other civil society groups.

    As their activists and scholars explained at the forum, it is due to malapportionment – where the Malaysia’s voting population is unequally distributed across all 222 parliamentary seats.

    For example, a seat like Putrajaya has about 15,000 voters versus Kapar which has more than 144,000 voters. This effectively devalues a Kapar vote where one vote in Putrajaya is worth nine votes in Kapar.

    This is not an exception. It happens between parliamentary and state seats across all states such as Kelantan, Kedah, Selangor and the Federal Territories. It also happens in Sabah and Sarawak.

    So all a political party needs to do is win as many sparsely populated seats as possible in order to reach 112 parliamentary majority to form the government.

    This violates the cardinal principle of a fair democracy where one person gets one vote, and that vote is of equal value to other votes.

    To correct this imbalance, the EC has to review and redraw the boundaries between seats every eight years to take into account changes in voter population, an exercise called re-delineation.

    It is this next re-delineation exercise that the EC will conduct next month and which Tindak Malaysia hopes to influence.

    A proposal the EC can’t refuse

    This is where 100,000 Malaysians are needed.

    Lawyer and Bar Council member Syahredzan Johan said that when the EC puts up its own draft of the new electoral boundaries, any objection to those new boundaries must be done by 100 voters in a given seat or constituency.

    “By law, when they receive those objections, they have to call a public hearing on the constituency’s new boundary,” says Syahredzan.

    But Tindak Malaysia is not just stopping there. The group has, through an exhaustive two-year campaign, drawn up their own maps for what they propose the new seats should look like.

    Unlike Malaysia’s current lop-sided constituencies, the 222 parliamentary seats in Tindak Malaysia’s draft have close to equal voter populations, making each vote essentially of equal value.

    Wong stressed that the group was race-blind when they drew the maps and that they ignored which seats were safe seats for either Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or the Barisan Nasional (BN).

    “We are ready when the EC says if you object, what’s your proposal. We say here it is. We have done it for you,” says Wong. Objections in the past have been ignored because they did not have their own proposals to counter the EC’s.

    It is through that public hearing that Tindak Malaysia hopes to get the EC to accommodate the group’s proposals.

    “We are providing a solution to the EC. I believe that deep down, election commissioners want to do a professional job. We want to help them do it,” said Wong.

    Getting those 100,000 Malaysians to sign up is a monumental task and Tindak Malaysia is going on road shows throughout the country to gather them soon.

    But seeing as how it will be working with a network of other like-minded groups and political parties, getting 100 in each constituency is not impossible.

    A more serious challenge is whether the EC will take them seriously. This is where it hopes to build a groundswell, hints another of the group’s activists, S. V. Singam.

    By getting the EC to call for public hearings Tindak Malaysia hopes to attract more political heavyweights to their cause, such as politicians.

    But Singam stressed that the main drivers in the campaign will have to be ordinary Malaysians “who need to engage in the democratic process”.

    “Either you get involved in this crucial process or you leave your future in the hands of others.” – February 17, 2014.


    NGO offers to help EC improve electoral system

    PETALING JAYA: Non-governmental body Tindak Malaysia has offered to help the Election Commission (EC) improve the country's electoral system.

    Its founder Wong Piang Yow said the EC should not perceive the NGO as a threat but as a form of assistance in restoring public confidence.

    “We know that in all fairness, the EC is trying to reform the system.

    “However, they need to open themselves to public participation and scrutiny,” he said at a forum titled Towards a Fairer Electoral System, which was organised by the Bar Council and 'findak Malaysia here yesterday.

    Tindak Malaysia, together with the Bar Council, would also carry out a nationwide roadshow on electoral reforms after March, said Wong.

    During the forum, Projek Beres spokesman Syahredzan Johan introduced several proposals.

    Among them was a review of the Federal Constitution as well as the country’s election laws and regulations. “If Malaysia is to achieve a fair electoral system, several key changes can be implemented under the Projek Beres blueprint,” Syahredzan said.

    He added that suggestions in the blueprint were open for discussion between the EC and the parliamentary select committee.

    “The idea is to provide solid feedback to the related agencies in order to produce a top-class democracy.

    “The blueprint is not foolproof either, which is why feedback from such parties is necessary to fine-tune it," he

  8. #8
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    Pakatan would be government if boundaries were fair, says electoral group


    FEBRUARY 15, 2014
    LATEST UPDATE: FEBRUARY 15, 2014 06:54 PM

    Ng Chak Ngoon speaking at the Bar Council's public forum at MBPJ Civic Hall today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, February 15, 2014.A total of 117 parliamentary seats.

    That is how many seats Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would have won in the 13th general election had all 222 parliamentary seats contained an equal number of voters and that the power of each vote was the same, an electoral reform group said today.

    Tindak Malaysia said the alternative general election result was based on a nationwide electoral boundary map, which rearranged voter populations in each state so that each constituency has almost the same number of voters between them.

    They said their map on electoral boundaries would correct the imbalances in populations between seats – termed “malapportionment” – which resulted in the current situation where for example, a vote in Putrajaya is worth nine votes in Kapar.

    The group's co-founder Ng Chak Ngoon said the group then entered voting patterns in last year's 13th general election into the redrawn map.

    The map, which was presented at an electoral reforms forum in Petaling Jaya today, used the same number of 222 parliamentary seats.

    In Tindak Malaysia's exercise, Barisan Nasional would only win 105 seats, compared with the 133 seats it won with the current electoral map, which critics have said is rife with malappropriation and gerrymandering.

    In the May 5 2013 general election, BN won 133 seats to PR's 89 seats, although the opposition pact took 51% of the popular vote.

    Civil society groups had said that the BN's victory at the polls, despite winning less popular votes, was proof that current electoral constituencies did not accurately represent how Malaysians voted. – February 15, 2014.

  9. #9
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    Wanted: An independent Boundaries Commission

    First Published: 7:01am, Feb 17, 2014
    Last Updated: 8:08am, Feb 17, 2014


    by Meena Lakshana


    • Projek Beres proposed the establishment of a separate body independent of the EC to oversee the re-delineation process.

    PETALING JAYA (Feb 17): A citizen-based electoral reform project has proposed the establishment of a separate body independent of the Election Commission (EC) to oversee the constituency re-delineation process.

    Speaking at the forum entitled ‘Towards a Fairer Electoral System’, Projek Beres coordinator Syahredzan Johan said yesterday a Boundaries Commission should be set up independently of the EC to deal with the delimitation process.

    In his presentation at the forum organised by the Bar Council and Tindak Malaysia, Syahredzan said the commission will also operate independently of Parliament, where Dewan Rakyat would have no power to amend or reject the final determination of boundaries by the commission.

    Its members will be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in consultation with the Conference of Rulers and the concurrence of the Opposition Leader.

    “The Boundaries Commission may increase or decrease number of constituencies according to delimitation criteria,” he said.

    The EC will assume the role of the Registrar of Societies (ROS) by handling the registration and regulation of political parties and political organisations, which would give licence to the commission to oversee the parties during election.

    The appointment of EC members is similar to the Boundaries Commission.

    To keep the Boundaries Commission and the EC in check, Projek Beres also proposed that an Election Ombudsman inquire into, review and address complaints and grievances with respect to the conduct of the EC and the Boundaries Commission.

    The Election Ombudsman will also issue orders for corrective action to be taken and recommend the removal of members of a caretaker government.

    All members of all bodies will be disqualified if found to be a member of a political party. Also, all members are not allowed to be elected representatives of the people.

    Projeck Beres also proposed that an interim Prime Minister (PM) lead the caretaker government once Parliament is dissolved to pave the way for elections.

    The interim PM will be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but is subject to the approval of the outgoing PM and the Opposition Leader.

    These are some of the 20 proposals drawn up by Projek Beres, a citizen-initiated electoral reform group.

    ‘Plans to engage with political parties’

    Syaredzan said the group hopes to initiate discussions on the proposals with both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat “as soon as possible.”

    “We want to engage with the stakeholders, EC and both sides of the political divide. Ultimately, they may have different ideas,” he said.

    “But at least, we can talk about these things, because it involves amendments to the Federal Constitution, and for that, we need both sides of the political divide to agree to this,” he said.

    However, Syahredzan said the group may have to wait until after the Kajang by-election.

    He said at the moment, the group also lacks funding but is hopeful that they will receive help.

    “The thing is, it is not civil society’s job to do all of these things,” he said.

    “We are doing this because the State has failed us and we are just a bunch of concerned citizens.

    “So, similarly, the funding will come because there are concerned citizens who will step forward to help us,” he added.

    More information on the group and its efforts can be found on its Facebook page here:

    Read more:

  10. #10
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    Tindak Malaysia wants fair delimitation exercise

    TheStarOnline, Feb 16th

    By rashvinjeet S. bedi

    PETALING JAYA: An NGO has urged the Election Commission (EC) to set a variance of 10% within the
    electoral quotient for peninsula states, and 15% for Sabah and Sarawak, when it redraws the boundaries of
    parliamentary constituencies.

    Wong Kuok Yong, a delimitation analyst with Tindak Malaysia said this was to address the issue of
    malapportionment in the whole of Malaysia.

    Using the example of Selangor, he pointed out that the constituency of Kapar has about 144,000 voters while
    Sabak Bernam has about 37,000 voters.

    "Kapar has 3.86 times more people than Sabak Bernam. This means that a vote in Sabak Bernam is worth
    3.86 votes in Kapar," he said during a public forum titled Towards a Fairer Electoral System 2014, organised
    by ‘lindak Malaysia and the Bar Council.

    The electoral quotient of Selangor is 93,129 voters. (Total number of voters in the state, which is 2,048,828
    divided by its 22 parliamentary seats).

    Wong said if there were a variance of 10% within the electoral quotient, the number of voters in a
    constituency would range from a lower limit of about 83,816 voters to an upper limit of about 102,442 voters.
    He added there were 15 constituencies in Selangor that were outside the 10% variance presently.
    "Proper|y delimitated boundary lines will minimise abuse of the system that appears to favour a particular
    party and in turn will create a level playing field for all candidates.

    "Vlfith properly delimitated lines, the election results will reflect the will of the people and this in turn
    empowers the rakyat," he said, adding that the EC should conform to the administration boundaries as much
    as possible.

    findak has come out with its own proposed maps for delimitation.

    Wong said their proposal on delimitation were based on five principals - fair delimitation, not crossing state
    boundary lines, avoiding state constituency lines from crossing federal constituency lines, sufficient facilities
    for voter registration and the maintenance of local ties.

    He admitted that there were several geographical limitations to be considered such as rivers, mountains and
    even highways when redrawing the boundaries.

    In the last general elections in May last year, Barisan won 60% of the seats with 47% of the overall vote
    while Pakatan won 40% of the seats although they obtained 51% of the overall vote.

    The EC is expected to carry out a delimitation exercise this year. Once started, the process has to be
    completed within two years. The EC last completed a delimitation exercise in March 2003.

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