PETALING JAYA: We are breaking Parliament's embargo on the Sabah delineation report and we are willing to be punished, says electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.
The Bersih 2.0 steering committee said that it was “left with no choice” but to expose the Sabah delineation report after “its call on July 9 for the embargo to be lifted was ignored”.
“Bersih 2.0 offers to pay the fine of RM1,000 to the Speaker’s office for breaking Parliament's embargo.
“We express deep disappointment that the public is kept in the dark on this important decision, as no media could report on the report.
“We believe that the public must be informed of the report’s content before parliamentarians vote on it, and have no choice but to violate the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 to reveal the full contents of the report,” the electoral watchdog said in its statement.
Bersih also urged all media and social media users to share the link where the scanned copy of the report may be downloaded.
“‘New Malaysia’ is hollow if matters of great public interest are hidden from the public before a decision is made,” it said.
Bersih further urged all concerned citizens to email their parliamentarians (details here) to vote against the adoption of the Sabah delineation review report or to at least abstain from voting.
On July 9, Bersih said that the two-year-old proposal is “malicious, flawed and obsolete”.
It had pointed out that the largest parliamentary constituency, P171 Sepanggar (55,294), has 2.22 times as many voters as the smallest, P183 Beluran (24,916).
“The largest state constituency, N69 Sri Tanjong (25,104) has 4.58 times as many voters as the smallest, N01 Banggi (5,485).
“The excessive malapportionment of constituencies will be worsened with the lowering of the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration, with the likelihood that 300,000-400,000 new voters (will be) added to Sabah’s existing electorate of (1.1 million) by GE15 (the 15 General Election), disproportionately in urban areas.
“Bersih stresses that redelineation is necessary for Sabah and most other states, and this should start after the lowering of the voting age and automatic voter registration,” it had said earlier this month.
The NGO also pushed for the Sabah government to resolve this issue by promising another amendment to the state Constitution to increase seats by one or more once the expansion of the electorate is in place.
“Bersih repeats its call for the Federal Government to cancel the debate and voting tomorrow (July 17) and urges all MPs, especially the 26 from Sabah and Labuan, to vote against it or at least abstain if it goes on,” it said.
However, on July 11, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he was confident the Bill for the additional 13 seats, that would increase the number of state seats from 60 to 73, will be approved when it is tabled in Parliament on Wednesday (July 17).