Any proposal for redelineation must be rejected until and unless the Election Commission (EC) abides by the Parliamentary Select Committee’s (PSC) proposal for electoral reform, PKR MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said today.
The Lembah Pantai MP said that without any electoral reform, any redrawing of electoral boundaries will only lead to unfair election results favouring the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
“Redelineation should be rejected until and unless the Election Commission abides by the PSC on Electoral Reforms’ recommendation of having three separate independent bodies to manage conduct of elections, manage the electoral roll and review election constituencies,” she said in a statement to Malay Mail Online.
The 2012 PSC proposal had suggested a separation of the main functions of the EC — the registration of voters, the conduct of elections and the redrawing of electoral boundaries.
It also proposed to have at least one third of parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak, the possibility of improving or changing the current First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system to a mixture of FPTP and Proportional Representation or strictly the latter.
In the FPTP system, the candidate with the most votes wins the seat, while the losing party or parties do not get any representation, which means that a lawmaker can be elected with less than half the votes cast.
Proportional representation characterises electoral systems where parties win seats in proportion to the votes they get.
Nurul Izzah was responding to former Federal Territories minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin’s call for a redelineation exercise in her constituency, which she claims would only benefit Umno’s influence there.
She pointed out that Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron had also proposed a redelineation exercise — an addition of one state seat in the BN-controlled Tangga Batu, and another two in Bukit Katil that is held by PKR.
Idris reportedly said the change would result in more Malay voters in the latter seat, and that this would be advantageous to BN.
“This is extremely irresponsible not least because the Umno leadership seeks to compromise what is supposed to be an independent electoral body, but because of their insatiable power-hungry desire to further entrench their rule — with no regards for the wishes of the masses,” Nurul Izzah said.
Nurul Izzah also pointed out Malaysia’s poor ranking in the 2014 Electoral Integrity Project based in the University of Sydney and Harvard University, where the 13th general election was found to be of “low integrity” and Malaysia was ranked 66th out of the 73 countries which conducted national parliamentary and presidential elections between July 2012 and December 2013. The study highlighted for Malaysia specifically a serious extent of compromise in district boundaries and electoral laws.
“It is therefore all the more imperative that our Electoral Commission do not simply sway to the caprices of the incumbent to redelineate. Failure to do so will result in a further erosion of trust from Malaysians in its ability to administer electoral processes in a nonpartisan manner,” the PKR vice-president said.
SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL