SABAH State Assembly now has 73 seats after the Bill to increase the number from 60 was passed by Dewan Rakyat.
The new seats are Bengkoka, Bandau, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Keramat, Limbahau, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama, and Kukusan.
The Bill, tabled for a second reading by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was passed unanimously yesterday.
It received the support from all 158 MPs including lawmakers from Sabah who were present during the voting.
The Federal Government Order (Redelinealition of Electoral Divisions) (Sabah) 2019 Bill was tabled for first reading on July 8. It sought to increase the number of state legislative seats from 60 to 73.
The Bill also proposed the name change of three state seats – Tanjong Aru to Tanjung Aru, Lahad Datu to Silam and Tanjong Batu to Tanjung Batu.
The parliamentary seat of Silam has been renamed as Lahad Datu.
In his winding-up, Minister in the Prime Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the redelineation was done in the best interest of the Sabahans.
“The report by the Election Commission was done accordingly.
“There were ample opportunities to participate in the redelineation process,” he said.
Liew said the government took note of the proposals raised by lawmakers during the debate, including providing transportation for voters in the rural areas.
“The proposal requires further study as it requires huge allocation,” he added.
Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof reminded the MPs that more than half of the votes of those present in the House were needed for the Bill to be passed.
He ordered a block vote to be taken with the results revealing that 158 votes in support of the Bill with no objections.
Dr Mahathir, when tabling the Bill’s second reading, said the redelineation would bring benefit to Sabahans in term delivery system by elected representatives.
“It will bring benefit especially in the interior areas including spurring development,” he said.
In August 2016, the Sabah state assembly passed an amendment to the state Constitution to allow the creation of 13 new seats.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal thanked Dr Mahathir for forwarding the motion to add seats in the state assembly.
“This is a very important motion for Sabahans because they have enough representation for their voices to be heard as well as to have their needs (as constituents) served,” he said in the Parliament lobby.
“Some of them are so far and in some areas, there aren’t enough constituents but they still need their rights as citizens.”