SHAH ALAM: Selangor would be one of the most affected states if the Election Commission’s (EC) proposed redelineation goes through.
Some of the parliamentary and state constituencies will become “super-sized” while others will shrink and have much fewer voters.
Elected representatives from the federal opposition are crying foul with allegations that the EC’s move was done to give the ruling coalition an edge to reclaim the state.
Several seats held by opposition MPs have been badly cut up with the removal of a substantial number of voters in areas that had contributed towards the candidates winning in the last general election.
Some have been bloated with a substantial increase in voters and inclusion of areas, which the federal opposition MPs claim is not Pakatan Harapan friendly.
The areas are Kapar (G. Manivanan – PKR), Subang (Sivarasa Rasiah – PKR), Gombak (Azmin Ali-PKR), Klang (Charles Santiago-DAP), Petaling Jaya Utara (Tony Pua – DAP), Kota Raja (Dr Siti Maria Mahmood – Amanah) and Selayang (William Leong-PKR).
Leong says six housing estates that are PKR-friendly have been removed from his constituency, which will result in him losing some 14,000 votes.
As for the state seats, Seri Andalas, which comes under Kota Raja, is one of the badly affected seats with the removal of 30,251 voters.
Constituencies in and around Klang, perceived as Pakatan Harapan and PAS strongholds, appear to be the ones that have been shuffled around the most.
According to Klang MP Charles Santiago, his seat for instance will see voters increase by 46% from 97,252 to 141,275.
Santiago said the alteration of the constituency borders in the super-bloated seats would also make it difficult for elected representatives to service their constituents, as it will cover a much wider area.
There are also complaints that ethnically mixed constituencies are being transformed into Malay majority seats.
For instance, Sri Andalas will lose about 25,000 Indian and Chinese voters and become a Malay majority seat.
Port Klang will similarly be affected with an increase in the number of Malay voters.
The Sungai Pinang state constituency, which is currently under the Kapar parliamentary constituency, will also see a decrease in Malay voters as it will be carved out and transplanted into Klang.
Sungai Pinang assemblyman Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who is also senior exco in the Selangor state government, said the EC’s move was outrageous.
Teng added that under the exercise, his Chinese voters would rise from 65% to 72% whilst the Malay voters will shrink to a mere 7% as opposed to the current 30%.
“I will no longer have the privilege of serving the multi-racial community in my constituency which will become racially polarised,” said Teng.
Selangor PAS commissioner Iskandar Abdul Samad lambasted allegations by certain quarters that the re-delineation’s new borders will benefit the Islamist party.
He added PAS would also lose out big time as some polling areas, which had helped his party win, had been removed out of the constituencies.
He said the re-delineation exercise could result in PAS losing Morib and Sijangkang in Kuala Langat and Selat Klang in Kapar.
“Sabak (Sabak Bernam), Hulu Kelang (Gombak) and Tanjung Sepat (Kuala Langat) will be in danger.
“This exercise is to give an advantage to Barisan,’’ said Iskandar.
Klang MCA division vice-chief Datuk Dr Ching Eu Boon said the redelineation exercise has pigeonholed the various races.
“It looks very racially divided and this is not good. The increase in size of certain constituencies, such as Klang parliamentary seat from 97,252 to 141,275 voters will also make it difficult for elected representatives to effectively serve their constituents,” added Dr Ching.
Kapar Umno division chief Datuk Faizal Abdullah said he too was perplexed when the re-delineation borders were first announced by the EC and perceived it to be racial in nature.
That was until he met with the EC officials to ask about the rationale behind the creation of such borders and was given an explanation.
Kapar, for instance, said Faizal, was a huge parliamentary constituency with 146,000 voters and four state seats – Sementa, Sungai Pinang, Selat Klang and Meru – under it.
“Kapar is basically about 60% rural, 20% semi urban and 20% urban before the drafting of the new borders,” he added.
Apparently, the EC’s rationale behind the new borders was to remove the urban areas from the Kapar parliamentary constituency and make it 85% rural and 15% semi urban.
Hence, also the reason of removing the Sungai Pinang state seat from Kapar and placing it under Klang.
Unfortunately, said Faizal, since the racial composition in rural areas is mostly Malay, the urban areas Chinese and Indians are mostly found in the semi-rural and semi-urban areas – the new voter composition under the re-delineation exercise comes across as being racially segregated.