EC will not entertain complaints on new seats


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 27 Apr 2003

BY SIM LEOI LEOI

PUTRAJAYA: The motion to create new parliamentary and state seats received royal assent on April 14 and the Election Commission can no longer accept complaints on the matter, commission secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said. 

Now the commission was awaiting a proposal to amend the Constitution before it could be implemented, he said, adding that this would be put forward at the next Parliament meeting in June or July. 

He said it was unfair for political parties to criticise the delineation exercise when the commission only received some 350 protests during the one month the names of these proposed new seats were displayed publicly. 

“About 70% of these complaints were from the Barisan Nasional. 

“We held talks with the local authorities and the state exco, and set up a technical committee comprising representatives from the Statistics and the Mapping Department to come up with proper delineation methods. 

“But we know it will be impossible to please everybody,” he said in a dialogue with the DAP Youth members at his office here yesterday. 

The group had expressed their unhappiness over the delineation exercise, arguing that this should be carried out according to the “One Man, One Vote” rule and that by right, Selangor should have more parliamentary seats than Johor since it had a bigger population. 

On April 8, opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat during a vote on the motion to create the new seats. The motion was subsequently passed by the House. 

Wan Ahmad said the commission had given a lot of leeway to the Opposition. “For instance, we decided to extend the period of public display by one day.”  

On the “One man, one vote” rule, Wan Ahmad said such a principle could not be put into practice in Malaysia due to the huge gap in infrastructure services between urban and rural areas. 

Similarly, he said the commission could not introduce automatic registration for every Malaysian who turned 21 as practised in certain countries. “This is because Malaysians are highly mobile and change their jobs and places of residence several times a year,” he said. 

He also said the commission would be meeting political parties and non-governmental groups on the Akujanji (good conduct) draft, to bind the conduct of candidates during the campaigning period. 

“The pledge must be linked to the Elections Offences Act so there will be penalties for those who breach it,” he said.  

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