MPs push for more seats, fairer vote distribution in boundary review

FARAH SHAZWANI ALI
FARAH SHAZWANI ALI
07 Jan 2024 06:00pm
Small photos from left: Syahredzan, Hassan and Mumtaz.
Small photos from left: Syahredzan, Hassan and Mumtaz.
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SHAH ALAM - Several lawmakers have expressed concerns about the current state of electoral boundaries, particularly calling for a reevaluation of increasing parliamentary seats and addressing imbalances in voter distribution.

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim has rebuked the Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh's statement regarding no planned redelineation, arguing that it overlooked a crucial aspect, creating new parliamentary seats, which has not occurred since 2004.

"He only touched on one aspect, while another aspect was not mentioned and it is also based on the Constitution.

"There are two actual things, redelineation, where the boundaries are modified and occur every eight years.

"But another thing is the breaking of boundaries, which I see as an urgent need because the last amendment was before 2004.

"There are currently 222 seats nationwide. I think the EC chairman needs to review and consider the proposed amendments to increase the number," he said when contacted by Sinar.

According to Hassan, the plan for redelineation and breaking boundaries should be amended in Parliament.

He clarified that breaking boundaries was crucial because there has been no significant addition in 20 years, especially on the East Coast, resulting in unbalanced parliamentary areas.

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"The voters in the Bangi Parliamentary constituency, for example, number more than 300,000 compared to Putrajaya, which has about 30,000.

"This means it is unbalanced even though both locations are close.

"The number of parliamentary seats in Terengganu is only eight, much less compared to 26 seats in Johor.

"States on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in particular, have more parliamentary seats, but in states with a majority of Malays on the East Coast, there is no increase.

"It can't be like that. We shouldn't politicise this seat increase, we need to practice democracy regardless of race.

"If there is a proposal for a new breaking of boundaries, this state should be involved, as should Sabah and Sarawak," he said.

Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan said the EC has the right to determine redelineation according to suitability and regulations outlined in the Federal Constitution.

However, he said the high number of voters in some areas is unfair to the people, as in Bangi, which has over 300,000 voters.

"For example, several parliamentary constituencies in Selangor itself have 50,000 or 60,000 voters.

"If compared to a voter in Bangi, this means the value of one vote in these parliamentary constituencies is equivalent to five or six votes in the Bangi Parliamentary constituency.

"Because the allocation for Parliament is the same for each parliamentary constituency, the allocation we receive must be 'shared' with more voters compared to other parliamentary constituencies," he said.

Meanwhile, Tumpat MP Datuk Mumtaz Md Nawi said that even though redelineation was based on the Constitution, the federal government must ensure that it was carried out according to the schedule.

He said many places in this country were involved in redelineation, but it did not happen in Kelantan and Terengganu.

"We have to implement it according to the law. But we also need to look at the number of voters and other supporting factors.

"It should be done as allowed and recommended by the Constitution and according to the schedule.

"However, in this case, attention should be paid to the sudden increase in voters in certain places. We need to see where these voters are coming from, especially since the birth rate is not high.

"It is important from a political and national security perspective," he added.