The Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) has joined calls for the Election Commission (EC) to review its redelineation proposal, claiming there is too much emphasis on racial and religious breakdown of seats.
SUPP central assistant treasurer Robert Lau Hui Yew acknowledged that the proposal does not affect Sarawak, but said that his party has received feedback on 13 new Sabah seats to be created that are allegedly drawn along racial and religious lines, The Borneo Post reported today.
“It is against the multi-racial set-up of this country. This does not bode well for racial integration. Instead, it will fan politicians to appeal to their bases, with race and religion as the lowest common denominator,” he was quoted saying.
According to Lau, six out of the 13 proposed new seats in Sabah are Muslim Bumiputera majority seats, four have an equal number of Muslim and non-Muslim Bumiputera voters, and two have a higher non-Muslim Bumiputera voter demography.
The Borneo daily reported SUPP having voiced a similar objection during the EC’s 2014 redelineation exercise for Sarawak, citing a malapportionment between the number or voters and size of the constituencies.
The proposal then was to raise the number of state seats by 11, from 71 to 82.
Lau reportedly contrasted the new seat of Gedong (N26) with its 6,340 voters against Pelawan’s 31,388 voters as an example of unequal distribution.
“The same situation is happening in Sabah with this proposal. We thus urge the Election Committee to honour the basic principle of democracy of one-man-one-vote,” he was quoted saying.
The EC is proposing to redraw the boundaries of 12 parliamentary and 34 state constituencies in the peninsula and create 13 new state seats in Sabah.
The move was met with criticism not only from the usual sources in the Opposition, but also some in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition including MCA and Gerakan that voiced concerns over the apparent segregation of voters along ethnic lines.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is also BN chairman said yesterday the ruling coalition will create panel to consolidate member parties’ views on the proposed redelineation.
The Malay Mail Online