KUCHING: Three new parliamentary and eight state seats are being proposed in Sarawak under an electoral redelineation exercise by the Election Commission.
Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the proposed new parliamentary seats were Igan, Sibuti and Limbang.
The proposed new state seats are Opar, Lingga, Balai Ringin, Bukit Saban, Daro, Bekenu, Pujut and Batu Danau.
“The existing Bukit Mas parliamentary seat will be split into two, with the creation of the new Limbang seat. Bukit Mas will be renamed Lawas,” he told reporters at a hotel here.
Also present were commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, secretary Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor and its members.
Abdul Rashid said the size of an area, the growth rate and needs of the electorate were key factors that were considered in the creation of new constituencies.
He said if approved by Parliament and the Sarawak state assembly, the number of parliamentary and state seats in Sarawak would be increased to 31 and 70 respectively, making Sarawak the state with the highest number of parliamentary and state constituencies.
He said the commission was expected to seek Parliament’s approval for the proposed new seats in the June or July session through amendments to the Federal Constitution.
The State Constitution will have to be amended by the state assembly to accommodate the proposed new state seats.
“The state government has the right, by virtue of the State Constitution, to make counter-proposals (on the redelineation exercise) to us. It could, for example, ask for more seats but it must be reasonable, and it would be up to the commission to consider,” he added.
Abdul Rashid said the commission had also proposed to rename five state constituencies. Kuala Rejang would be changed to Tanjung Manis, Serdeng to Semop, Matu Daro to Jemoreng, Limbang to Bukit Kota and Lawas to Bukit Sari.
He said if approved, the new state seats would be available for contest in the next election. The current five-year term of state assemblymen expires in November, 2006.
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