The Election Commission (EC), after 13 years and three election cycles, on Thursday announced the commencement of a nationwide redelineation exercise.
Within hours, the opposition rained a torrent of criticism against the EC, accusing the commission of trying to engineer the redelineation in BN’s favour.
Much of these criticisms were focused on Selangor, where the number of voters in the parliamentary seats were dramatically altered.
Malaysiakini looked at the patterns to see if there were any merits to claims that the EC was up to no good.
We first listed all parliamentary seats in Selangor based on the majorities won by BN or the federal opposition, in an ascending order.
This was then compared with how much the respective seats were enlarged, or shrunk, in terms of voters under the latest redelineation exercise.
From the simple analysis, it was found that parliamentary seats in Selangor that were won by the opposition by more than 60 percent of the votes cast, with the exception of Puchong, were all enlarged.
However, all marginal seats won by the opposition with a vote share of between 55 percent and 60 percent were shrunk.
As for high risk opposition seats that were won by less than 55 percent and BN seats, the size were largely unchanged.
Seats with substantial increases in voter size are Petaling Jaya Utara (+76.2 percent), Petaling Jaya Selatan (+62.6 percent), Klang (+45.5 percent), Kelana Jaya (+45.0) and Kota Raja (+14 percent), all of which the opposition won by over 60 percent in the 13th general election.
The only exception was Puchong, which shrunk by 22.7 percent.
Subang (-42.9 percent), Hulu Langat (-34.9 percent), Kapar (-30.3 percent) and Selayang (-11.4 percent) were among the seats that shrank, which the opposition won by 55 to 60 percent of the votes cast in the last general election.
It should be noted that the planned significant change in the size of parliamentary seats in Selangor is in stark contrast with that for the other states, which at most will see an adjustment of around 10 percent for any particular parliamentary seat.
However, in these states, the occasional odd-one-out does raise alarm bells.
Under the redelineation, the opposition-held state seat of Sitiawan will be removed from the Lumut parliamentary constituency and placed under the Beruas parliamentary constituency, a neighbouring seat held by DAP.
PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won the Lumut parliamentary seat with a 8,168-vote majority in the last general election.
The Sitiawan state seat was the only state constituency within Lumut that was won by the opposition, with a 11,820-vote majority.
The removal of Sitiawan effectively erases Mohamad Imran’s majority and may even leave him with a deficit, almost guaranteeing defeat if the voting pattern remains the same.
Concurrently, the Ledang parliamentary seat will see its size grow by 18.3 percent.
A closer analysis by Malaysiakini found that the polling stations of Umno branch leaders who supported former Umno leader Muhyiddin Yassin are also to be moved out of Pagoh.
These leaders, from Grisek; Parit Medan; Kurnia Sakti and Kundang Ulu, quit their positions in June, to protest Muhyiddin’s sacking from the party with one even torching his uniform.
Kundang Ulu, Parit Medan and Kurnia Sakti fall under the Kundang Ulu polling station while Grisek is under the Grisek polling station.
Both polling stations, and several others, were moved out of Pagoh and placed under the neighbouring Ledang parliamentary seat.
These trends and anomalies highlight legitimate questions on the independence and professionalism of the EC in this redelineation exercise.
Editor’s note: For best experience viewing the charts on mobile, kindly use landscape mode.
Nigel Aw & Kow Gah Chie