PRESS STATEMENT (12 May 2017): BERSIH 2.0 welcomes halt to Melaka redelineation

BERSIH 2.0 welcomes the decision by the Melaka High Court to issue a stay order on the local inquiry proceedings for the revised redelineation proposal for the state by the Election Commission until the conclusion of the judicial review for the same case.
This is a highly significant development as redelineation remains one of the root causes of unfair elections. It is also not helped by a lack of transparency in the process, as revealed in the court challenge mounted by lawyer and social activist Haris Ibrahim to obtain information pertaining to the procedure, which unfortunately ended at the Federal Court this week in favour of the EC.
With the Federal Court’s decision, the EC, whose past and present actions have raised serious concerns as to its independence, is thus allowed to continue acting in a non-accountable manner with regard to this crucial electoral process. *There is severe inequality of voters in the number of voters among constituencies in the same state (malapportionment) and boundaries drawn that do not maintain local ties (gerrymandering). These are being proposed by the EC in favour of the ruling party in many constituencies, as revealed by BERSIH 2.0 and other research groups working on this issue. A serious case of malapportionment* can mean that the outcome of an election is already decided even before it is called, essentially cheating voters of their rightful representation.
However, as much as BERSIH 2.0 rejoices at the court decision in Melaka today, we had hoped that the court would grant the seven plaintiffs a stay of the proceedings for the entire country as it is unprecedented for the EC to move on to the second, revised proposal without Selangor, which has obtained a stay order on local inquiry proceedings after the first proposal and where a judicial review is ongoing. The EC’s decision to leave Selangor out of the process is not in accordance with Article 113(6) of the Federal Constitution, which says all states of Malaya is a unit of review for the purpose of delimitation.
Nevertheless, the stay order granted for the Selangor and Melaka redelineation proposals shows there are serious issues with them that merit the consideration of the courts. As it is, the electoral roll, which forms the basis of the proposal, is known to be plagued with names that have no addresses and other discrepancies such as dubious voters being transferred, especially into marginal seats, in violation of election regulations and even the Constitution.
Fair electoral boundaries is one of the foundations for fair elections. This is the first redelineation that is being done amidst an awakened citizenry led by BERSIH 2.0.
The EC can expect more lawsuits to come. The people will not give up without a fight.
Issued by
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee