Constituencies Redelineation: Adhere to Constitution and Equality Principle, Not Ethnicity and Religion

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) condemns the statement from the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who wants to draw the electoral boundaries to benefit Malays and Islam, in total disregard for the principles of equality and the principle of “one person one vote” (1). His statement clearly showed his intention to gerrymander the boundaries in order for his party to win the election.

The practice of gerrymandering is a betrayal of democracy. In a democracy, voters elect politicians. Politicians must take care of the people and work hard if they do not want to be fired. By gerrymandering, politicians will choose their voters, ensuring that their supporters dominate many constituencies even though the people’s support for them has declined, thus making them unafraid of being fired and there is no need for them to take care of the people and work hard.

BERSIH 2.0 rejects the outright lies that fraud in the delineation can benefit the Malays because it will guarantee Malay political power. The fact is, Malays are already dominating Malaysian politics but they are only powerful if they can choose any party freely. If there are certain parties that can secure the victory even if they were rejected by the population, which majority are Malays, the Malays would suffer the greatest loss.

BERSIH 2.0 reminds that Malays dominated 70% of the 20 largest parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia in GE14. This is due to the growing population of the Malays and their migration to the cities. Thus, malapportionment harms the Malays. With the 8 million new voters that will be added into the electoral roll in July 2021, more Malays will be victimised by greater malapportionment in the delineation.

Parliamentary Constituencies


% of Malay

P102 Bangi



P106 Damansara



P110  Klang



P111  Kota Raja



P104 Subang



P098  Gombak



P105 Petaling Jaya



P162 Iskandar Puteri



P138 Kota Melaka



P109  Kapar



P159 Pasir Gudang



P158 Tebrau



P097  Selayang



P015 Sungai Petani



P019 Tumpat



P128 Seremban



P063 Tambun



P040  Kemaman



P108  Shah Alam



P016 Baling



Table: 70% of the 20 Largest Parliamentary Constituencies dominated by Malays in Peninsular Malaysia(2)


In terms of age groups, the biggest victims of extreme malapportionment are the youth, as they are concentrated in urban areas where constituencies are dense with voters. When Undi18 is implemented, many youths will be disappointed when they find that their vote value is far less than their grandparents’ in the village. Projections point to Bangi voters, which may soar to around 400,000 while areas like Cameron Highlands, Gerik and Sabak Bernam may be around 50,000 voters only.


BERSIH 2.0 urges PAS, who closely associates itself with Islam, to return to their tradition by following the example of Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz during the period of Bani Umayyah who refused to take advantage while on public duty. He extinguished government lamps after reading governmental documents and installed personal lamps to read personal documents. The ruling party that abuses its power to win the election with fraud would be akin to the Malay proverb “harapkan pegar, pegar makan padi”.

There is a clear guideline for redelineation of constituencies in Article 113(2) and Section 2 (c) of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. According to these provisions, the Election Commission (EC) is obliged to ensure that the number of voters in the constituency is “approximately equal”. The existing electoral boundaries are already marred with severe problems of gerrymandering and malapportionment, along with the existence of super-sized constituencies, with the ratio between the largest parliament to the smallest parliament exceeding four times.

BERSIH 2.0 reminds Datuk Dr Khairuddin that PAS once fought for clean and fair elections because they were a victim of an unfair electoral system. PAS had also strongly opposed the practice of gerrymandering that they sent representatives to protest the redelineation exercise done by the EC in 2016 (3). It is absurd that Datuk Dr Khairuddin wants to bring back the old and dirty practices that were once opposed by PAS. Furthermore, drawing election boundaries based on ethnicity is immoral and will not help in cultivating national unity in Malaysia.

For the next redelination exercise, BERSIH 2.0 urges the EC to correct the worsened interstate malapportionment as a result of the 2016 redelineation. Even Malay majority states such as Kedah, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu have suffered from malapportionment with the ratio of largest parliament and the smallest parliament exceeding 33.33%, the allowable standard deviation. For example, the ratio of the largest and smallest parliamentary constituencies in Kedah is 2.7, Kelantan 2.4 and Perak 3.4. Malapportionment violates the principle of “one person, one vote” and it undermines representation of the people in areas that have been unequally delineated.

BERSIH 2.0 views Datuk Dr Khairuddin’s statement with grave concern as a malicious attempt to change the boundaries in order for certain political parties to win, instead of ensuring the voters are properly represented by elected representatives. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Perikatan Nasional government should reject Datuk Dr Khairuddin’s statement. BERSIH 2.0 also urges the EC to state their position on the issue as this concerns the EC’s responsibilities as constituted by Article 113(2).

BERSIH 2.0 calls on all Malaysians regardless of race, religion and political views to reject and condemn Datuk Dr Khairuddin’s malicious intent to change election boundaries and to rob the people of democracy.

Released by,
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0