Hornbill Unleashed

October 6, 2016

Bersih 2.0 prepares standard ‘objection letters’ for voters

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:01 PM

bersih_undi1Inaction or apathy regarding the on-going electoral redelineation is not an option, warned Bersih 2.0 in a statement.

It said voters should “act now”.

The NGO had previously warned that the 14th, 15th and possibly 16th general elections would be determined by what happened in the on-going redelineation exercise.

Bersih 2.0 on Wednesday announced that it had prepared 529 Surat Bantahan (Objection Letters) for all state constituencies, except Sarawak which had its redelineation exercise last year.

The letters were prepared by DART (Delineation Action & Research Team), its special taskforce.

The legally prepared letters, backed by DART analysis, can be used to submit constitutionally-compliant grounds and/or object to malapportionment and gerrymandering of constituencies.

Each of the Surat Bantahan contains data to challenge malapportionment of constituencies. It shows where the Election Commission (EC) had failed to follow the principles laid down in Sec.2(c) of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

“The number of electors within each constituency in a state ought to be approximately equal,” stressed the Bersih 2.0 statement.

The NGO has since discovered that 59 parliamentary seats are more than 15 per cent above the state average. There are also 134 state seats that are under-represented i.e. over-sized in terms of number of voters.

This clearly violated the principle of “one person, one vote, one value” as intended in the Federal Constitution, said Bersih 2.0. “That’s a key principle of democracy.”

Also included in the Surat Bantahan are details on how proposed boundaries overlap local authority boundaries. This is a violation of Sec.2(d) which states that “regard ought to be given to the inconveniences attendant on alterations of constituencies, and to the maintenance of local ties.”

Local authorities were one of the groups recognised by Sec.5 of the same Schedule with rights to submit objections, and one definer was “local ties,” said the statement. “There are about 100 such instances which may be classified as gerrymandering.”

The Surat Bantahan also allows voters to fill in other instances of gerrymandering.

This included the clustering of unrelated communities or the separation of similar communities by dividing villages and housing estates.

Objectors can also propose name changes for their constituencies if they think the current or proposed name is inappropriate.

The NGO said voters could download the Surat Bantahan for their constituencies.

They can make the necessary amendments, collect the 100- plus signatures of voters in their constituency and submit the Surat Bantahan to their state EC office by Oct 14 to meet the 30-day deadline for objections.

There’s no limit to the number of objections one can submit for a constituency on malapportionment, gerrymandering and all forms of manipulation.

The Surat Bantahan and other information can be found at the website at https://dart.bersih.org.

FMT Reporters Online

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