The Election Commission (EC) has failed to comply with the guidelines set in the Federal Constitution to hold fair elections even before “the game has started”, a forum was told.
Speakers said the current exercise to redraw electoral boundaries was designed to help the Barisan Nasional win the 14th general election after its poor performance in the last two polls.
Bar Council constitutional law committee chairman Roger Chan Weng Keng said the EC had provided insufficient information to the public on the shifting of voters to another polling station or the unreasonable redrawing of boundaries.
“The EC must explain, but instead it broke the law even before the game has started,” he said.
Chan said asking the public to look at the EC’s website for an explanation was a passive way of disseminating information.
“We invited an EC representative to be present and to explain, but there was no response,” he told the forum last night titled, “Election Commission’s Proposal to Redelineate the Electoral Boundaries in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah”.
Chan said the delineation exercise was done with the purpose to correct a non-compliance in the constitution and this included the concept of equality in voting.
He pointed an example of this gross inequality in Selangor with the Sabak Bernam parliamentary constituency having 37,126 voters while Subang 128,330 voters.
Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said this time around the EC had refused to provide the land mass of constituencies in altering the electoral boundaries.
She said Petaling Jaya Utara (renamed as Damansara) was smaller in size but had 150,439 voters compared to Sabak Bernam.
“The EC has carried out a malapportionment and gerrymandering exercise to ensure the ruling BN retained power in the next polls,” said Chin whose coalition for clean and fair elections was conducting a nationwide road show to create awareness among the people.
Bersih last week also filed a lawsuit to stop the EC from proceeding with the redelineation exercise and demanded the commission provide land mass information to the public for each parliamentary and state seat.
The Selangor government is said to have also filed a judicial review against the EC.
Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah said the EC’s conduct was causing democracy to be flawed in Malaysia.
“BN had only 47 per cent of the popular vote but secured about 60 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats to hold on to power,” he said.
Without mincing his words, Sivarasa said the current exercise exposed EC of being a branch of Umno for altering multi-racial seats to predominantly Malay majority constituencies.
The lawyer said Subang reflected the face of Selangor as being multi-racial but the EC had altered to make his seat a 65 per cent Malay majority constituency.
“In fact, the EC has polarised the nation,” he said, adding that the covert exercise did not automatically mean BN could easily win as the anti-establishment feeling among young voters was strong.