Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said he intends to table a Private Member’s Bill in the coming parliamentary session seeking to move the powers of redelineation from the Election Commission (EC) to an independent body.
The PKR secretary-general told a press conference today that this will involve amending section 8 of the Federal Constitution and article 113, which concerns the electoral process.
“The amendment will remove the power of carrying out redelineation from the EC and place it under an independent body set up to undertake the matter in a fair manner, under a new article that is article 113A,” said Rafizi.
The move comes after the EC’s proposed redrawing of electoral boundaries nationwide drew outcry from both the opposition and BN component parties, as favouring largely Umno.
In his analysis displayed at the press conference today with the NGO Invoke, Rafizi showed that the seats contested by BN’s non-Malay parties such as MCA, Gerakan, MIC and PPP were the most negatively affected.
The exercise will increase the Malay majority and diminish non-Malay representation in the constituencies, he said.
For example, the non-Malays would be crammed into a single large constituency, he said, citing the new mixed seat Damansara, Selangor which will have 150,439 voters, compared to Umno’s Parit, Perak, which will have only 33,368, or 22 percent the number of voters.
The Damansara parliamentary seat sees an increase of nearly 80 percent in voters from the present DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara, which in the last general election had 85,401 voters.
Like ‘Hudud Bill’ for BN
Rafizi said he has until the end of this month to submit his bill, and will discuss the matter with Pakatan Harapan parliamentarians William Leong (Selayang), Hanipa Maidin (Sepang) and Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong) so that the coalition is on the same page with the amendments.
He urged all MPs whether from Harapan or BN to support his bill to preserve the spirit of multiracialism and the voice of the minorities in the country.
Invoke, he said, will post a list of all parliamentarians who support the bill or oppose it, on its website.
The PKR leader also likened his bill to the hudud issue that BN had used to break the defunct Pakatan Rakyat up.
He speculated the call to amend the EC’s purview may see a similar break up of the BN.
“Prime Minister Najib Razak, if he is farsighted, might be wise to suggest that the redelineation be cancelled as soon as possible before our campaign goes further,” he mused.
Both MCA and Gerakan have expressed their opposition towards the proposed redelineation exercise.
MCA president Liow Tiong Lai said it would worsen the split between the ethnic communities, while Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong said it would affect his party’s chances of winning in the seats it contested.