Sarawak to get more seats


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 05 Jul 2005

SARAWAK will have three more parliamentary seats following a delineation exercise in January, giving Malaysia’s biggest state a total of 31. 

The new constituencies are Igan, Sibuti and Limbang. 

A motion to amend the Federal Constitution and present the report of the delineation exercise was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Mohamed Abdul Aziz. 

The motion was put to a vote – 185 MPs were for the changes while 14 abstained. No one voted against. 

This means that the Federal Constitution will be amended in September to provide for 222 MPs instead of the present 219. 

“The previous delineation was carried out eight years ago,” Nazri said, explaining that vast development had swept through the state since then. 

“However, a lack of transportation and communications remains a major barrier in drawing up electoral areas that are ideal from the administrative perspective,” he said. 

Nazri added that the extraordinary nature of its demographics – Sarawak has a population of two million – and topography had led to difficulties in balancing the size of the electorate for each seat with the average number of voters. 

Sarawak, which must hold its state election by September next year, will also have nine more state seats, giving it a total of 71. 

During the debate, Dr James Dawos Mamit (BN-Mambong) claimed that the numerous ethnic groups were very well represented in Parliament. 

Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching), however, saidthat there was no proportionate representation seen in the delineation exercise. 

Although the Election Commission stated that there was an average of 29,217 voters in each parliamentary seat, he said 21 constituencies had a smaller electorate than that.  

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