Bersih 2.0 said today it may file legal challenges against the Election Commission (EC) for rejecting several of its objections filed concerning its redelineation proposal.
The electoral reform group insisted that the election regulator owes the public an explanation for dismissing the objections submitted by Penang voters in the state constituencies of Air Itam, Paya Terubong and Seri Delima state constituencies and Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency after several inquiry sessions, despite abiding by the guidelines requiring groups of 100 registered voters or more.
“The reason given was that their objections do not justify a local enquiry because they do not meet the requirement of having 100 or more affected voters who are listed in the electoral roll even when there are definitely more than 100 signatures collected.
“We want to ask if EC rejected these objections because the affected voters who signed were in the wrong electoral roll used by EC during their redelineation?” Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Thomas Fann asked in a statement.
He demanded the EC show the “correct” electoral roll to support its denial of acceptance as well as list the names of disqualified voters so those affected would know the appropriate action to take.
Fann also called on those who had their rejections dismissed because their constituencies weren’t affected by the redelineation to file for a legal suit, citing a few reasons.
“The EC’s rejection implies that they have the full discretionary power to decide which constituencies should be redelineated and any decision of exclusion cannot be challenged,” he said.
He claimed that voters in the Penang and Sabah federal constituencies of P.049 Bukit Bendera, P.051 Bukit Gelugor and P.190 Tawau respectively also saw their objections dismissed, purportedly because they were not affected in the proposed boundary-redrawing exercise.
Fann argued that such exclusion would result in gross injustice, citing voter imbalance in the Sabah state constituency of N.69 Sri Tanjung as an example.
“With the increase of state constituencies in Sabah from 60 to 73, the average electorate size of state constituencies has dropped by nearly 20 per cent from 16,587 to 13,633.
“Leaving N69 Sri Tanjung untouched with 25,104 voters in the redelineation exercise, means its excess has jumped from 151 per cent above average to 184 per cent above average.
“The largest state constituency in Sabah, N69 Sri Tanjung has 4.58 times the electorate of the smallest seat in the state, N.01 Banggi (5,485), yet the submission of the 100 plus voters was rejected on the ground that this constituency is not affected by the delineation process this time,” he said.
Fann refuted the EC’s decision barring voters from submitting their objections was a violation of Section 18 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950.
“In EC’s letter of invitation to those with valid objections, it is stated that objectors cannot be represented by lawyers unless the lawyers are also affected voters in that constituency.
“Section 18 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950 states that person whose conduct is the subject of enquiry under this Act, or who is in any way implicated or concerned in the matter under enquiry, shall be entitled to be represented by an advocate at the whole of the enquiry,” he added.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday said that the state will file a suit against the EC for its failure to consider the objections filed by the state government, and accused the EC of failing its duty in conducting the redelineation exercise especially when voters were reduced in his constituency and increased in another constituency.
Lim who is also Bagan MP said the Penang state government, 100 voters and the local government had submitted objections to EC for several constituencies in the state respectively.
Some assemblymen, who had submitted objections, had already received replies from the EC that inquiries will not be held despite their objections.
Source : The Malay Mail Online