EC: No redelineation plans yet

PETALING JAYA: There are no plans yet to redraw electoral boundaries in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, while the exercise for Sarawak is being considered, says Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh.

A redelineation proposal can only begin when an announcement to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and the Prime Minister has been made by the EC and a notice is published in the mass media as per Section 4 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The EC has no plans for the redelineation of the peninsula and Sabah as the eight-year interval is still in effect.

“As for Sarawak, the EC is considering and assessing the suitability to do so,” Abdul Ghani said in a statement yesterday.

“The redelineation of the existing electoral demarcation can only be implemented after the effective period of eight years from the completion of the last redelineation or when there is an amendment to the composition of the Dewan Rakyat or the state assemblies.

“The last redelineation for the Peninsular Malaysia states was completed in 2018, whereas Sarawak and Sabah’s were completed in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

“The EC, in accordance with Article 113 of the Constitution, from time to time, as and when needed, is responsible for reviewing the electoral demarcation of the states based on the principles and procedures under the 13th Schedule, Parts I and II of the Constitution,” said Abdul Ghani.

The principles include facilitating all voters to cast their votes during the election and that electoral boundaries do not cross state borders; taking into account administrative facilities available within the constituencies to establish necessary machinery for registration and voting; and ensuring that the number of voters is more or less the same for each constituency in a state.

“Except when there are communication difficulties and other difficulties faced by constituencies in rural areas, then the area of electoral divisions should be considered,” he said, adding that maintaining local ties is also among the principles to be considered by the EC.

Meanwhile, political analyst Prof Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University said there is a need for “constituency delimitation” after the influx of nearly six million new voters following the automatic voter registration and Undi18.

“This has worsened malapportionment (vast disparity in electorate size across constituencies).

“Not correcting malapportionment is sustaining injustice to voters living in super-sized constituencies, especially young voters.

“A vast majority of them are Malays who live in or have moved to urban areas for education and employment opportunities,” said Wong, who termed redelineation as “constituency delimitation”.

Wong opined that EC’s statement on New Year’s Day was to defuse fear and make clear that there would be no delimitation in the peninsula before March 2026 and Sabah before February 2025.

“The delimitation exercise cannot be delayed indefinitely, even though the Constitution does not impose a maximum interval for delimitation.

“As long as the elephant in the room is not addressed, the government will be politically sandwiched between Perikatan Nasional supporters who fear the advent of delimitation, and urban and young voters who are angered by their perceived continued marginalisation,” he said.

Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) steering committee chairman Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said the principles of fair and equitable electoral boundaries must be upheld.

He said there is a notable malapportionment in the distribution of the number of voters in parliamentary constituencies such as Bangi and Sabak Bernam in Selangor, with 311,469 and 51,842 voters respectively last year.

“A balanced distribution of voting power, especially for voters in heavily populated constituencies, should also be upheld,” he said.

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