PUTRAJAYA: The redelineation of electoral boundaries has come into effect after receiving Royal Assent, paving the way for a “Super Weekend” next week as the general election looms.
A Federal Government Gazette states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong issued an order for the recommendations in the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation report to come into effect yesterday.
“This Order may be cited as the Federal Constitution (Delimitation of Constituencies)(States of Malaya) Order 2018.
“This Order comes into operation on 29 March 2018,” reads the notice, signed by Secretary to the Cabinet Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.
The Gazette was posted yesterday on the Attorney-General’s Chambers e-Federal Gazette website at http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/.
The notice says the recommendations contained in the EC report dated March 6 shall have effect from the date of this Order coming into operation.
With the new boundaries in place, all eyes are now on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for an indication of when he will seek the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s consent to dissolve Parliament in order to hold the general election.
His movements from now until the day he announces the dissolution of Parliament will be closely monitored.
Today and on Sunday, the Prime Minister will be attending events in Kuala Lumpur while he will be returning to his Pekan constituency for a full-day programme tomorrow.
It is unlikely that he will make any major announcement on the polls at these functions, but several key events are scheduled next week.
Tuesday will mark Najib’s ninth anniversary as Prime Minister, while both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara are scheduled to end their current meetings on Thursday.
Barisan Nasional is expected to unveil its manifesto two days later on April 7 in a political “Super Weekend”.
In 2013, Najib announced the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, his fourth anniversary as Prime Minister.
Najib made the announcement in a special live telecast from the RTM studio located at his Putrajaya office complex, Perdana Putra.
All Cabinet Ministers were in attendance when he made the dissolution announcement then.
Parliament’s term ends on June 24, and elections must be held within 60 days after that.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, when contacted, confirmed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given Royal Assent and that the redelineation has been gazetted.
“Everything is in order. The report has received Royal Assent and has been gazetted,” he said.
It is believed that the report was presented to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V on Wednesday evening after the Dewan Rakyat passed it earlier in the day.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said with the redelineation gazetted, the Prime Minister could call for the dissolution of Parliament anytime now.
“We have now reached the last milestone. Hereafter, the general election can be called anytime,” he said.
Political analyst Prof Datuk Abdul Halim Sidek said it was only right that the report be gazetted without delay, as the general election is near.
“If the new boundaries are to be used in this election, then the Government would want the King to give his assent as soon as possible, as in this case,” he said.
Asked if this is an indication that the election is near, he said: “I guess it is.”
Former EC deputy chairman Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the process which followed the passing of the report by the Dewan Rakyat was a straightforward one.
The report was sent back to the Government, which then prepared it to be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“Once Royal Assent is given, the report is gazetted.
“However, even though the King has signed it, the new boundaries will only come into effect when Parliament is dissolved,” he explained.
Wan Ahmad said the same procedure applied when the last redelineation report was passed in 2003.
On Wednesday, the Dewan Rakyat passed the motion for the redelineation of electoral boundaries with 129 lawmakers voting for it and 80 against.
It was the first time in history that a redelineation was conducted with no increase in the number of seats.
The number of parliamentary constituencies remains at 222.
The 2003 redelineation was used in three general elections – 2004, 2008 and 2013.
The EC was to have conducted a redelineation in 2011, but it was postponed to make way for the 2013 election.
The exercise will affect 98 of the 165 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
Twelve of those will be renamed, along with 28 state seats.
In 2013, Barisan won 36 of the 98 seats while the Opposition won 62.
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