Sarawak redelineation exercise seriously stymied by incomplete maps and gross malapportionment

 

  • Batang Sadong map
  • The most telling example of the EC’s deliberate crime of malapportionment is P200 Batang Sadong, a constituency which is 45 minutes away from Kuching and well connected by roads has only 20,977 voters, with three state constituencies, the smallest being N26 Gedong (6,340). This is in sharp contrast with P195 Bandar Kuching (78,394 voters) with three state constituencies, the largest of which being N10 Pending (30,881 voters).

  • How can the EC call 20,977 and 78,394, or 30,881 and 6,340 “approximately equal”?

  • We call upon the EC to recognise the unconstitutionality of its current proposal and make amends in the inquiry process. BERSIH 2.0 is ready to support any disempowered citizens to challenge the EC in the court of law.

  • Why the haste?

  • BERSIH 2.0 questions why the EC needs to commence the redelineation exercise in such haste while the nation’s attention is still on flood relief.
  • As the last redelineation exercise for Sarawak was completed within six months, and the Sarawak State Assembly’s term expires only by mid-2016, it should be possible for the redelineation exercise to be completed comfortably ahead of the next state election even if it starts a month or two later.
  • Is this a deliberate plot of the EC to prevent national attention and maximum public scrutiny on the redelineation exercise in Sarawak?
  • BERSIH 2.0 reiterates our position that must be heeded—the electoral roll must be cleaned before redelineation begins. The findings of the Sabah RCI on immigrants should serve as a constant reminder of how crucial this is.
  • No Seat Increase

  • BERSIH 2.0 nevertheless congratulates the EC for acting constitutionally by abiding by the number of parliamentary seats allocated for Sarawak as per Article 46 of the Federal Constitution.
  • This is the first time that redelineation involves seat increase only at the state level and not at the federal level. It shows the EC does heed the advice from civil society to not usurp the power of the Parliament and state legislatures to decide their sizes.
  • The EC should bear in mind that if the Parliament increases its seats for Sarawak in the near future, the EC will have to conduct another round of the redelineation exercise to implement the seat increase. It cannot simply relocate the state constituencies delineated in this exercise to the new number of parliamentary seats without public participation as per the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

BERSIH 2.0 calls upon all Malaysians to pressure the EC to make the changes we are recommending as this will not only affect Sarawak for the next 10 years or so, but the same pattern will likely repeat for redelineation in West Malaysia and Sabah.

Issued by,

The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0, which comprises –

Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Prof Madya Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusoff, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b. Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b. Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).