Break seats into smaller units, says Chan


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 02 Jan 2003

BY STEPHEN THEN

MIRI: Sarawak wants its heavily-populated parliamentary and state constituencies to be redelineated into smaller units for development and progress to be channelled more effectively to the people. 

It said the Election Commission should also consider possibly doing the same for constituencies which now covered a very big area. 

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said due to Sarawak's massive land size, it would be ideal if the existing number of 62 state seats and 28 parliamentary seats were increased. 

“The people are now demanding elected representatives to serve them better and more efficiently, both at the state or parliamentary level. 

“For a big state like Sarawak, we will need to have more elected representatives to be on the ground to serve the people all the time,” he said in an interview. 

He said the state government cannot tell the Election Commission how many more seats should be created, adding that it was up to the commission to decide based on the prevailing conditions in the state. 

Sarawak has 12.5 million hectares of land, with a population of 2.2 million spread out over an area as big as peninsula Malaysia. There are some 5,000 longhouses and villages in the state. 

The largest and second-largest parliamentary constituency in Malaysia are located in Sarawak, namely Ulu Rejang in Sibu Division and Baram in Miri Division; each as big as the state of Johor. 

Dr Chan, who is state Finance, Public Utilities and Industrial Development Minister and also Sarawak United People’s Party president, noted that so far, no study has been conducted by the commission yet to determine which constituencies in the state deserved to be divided into smaller units. 

He pointed out that the rural population was scattered, with a lot of longhouses and rural growth centres located far from each other.  

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