Redelineation motion passed with GE14 just around the corner

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA

The Dewan Rakyat yesterday passed the redelineation motion, the first such exercise by the Election Commission (EC) in the last 15 years, which will see electoral changes in 98 out of 165 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.

The EC’s redelineation report was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk SeriMohd Najib Razak yesterday morning, despite strong objections from the Opposition and non-governmental organisations.

The redelineation motion was passed with 129 against 80 votes. The bloc vote was conducted after 14 lawmakers from both sides of the divide debated the motion.

The proposed redelineation motion only needed a simple majority of 111 law-makers to be passed, and will be gazetted after receiving the Royal Assent.

The new electoral boundaries are expected to be used for the coming 14th General Election (GE14).

Najib said the last electoral redelineation was conducted in 2003 and the last proposal did not involve changes to the number of parliamentary and state seats for the GE14 as recommended by the EC.

“However, the EC has recommended the renaming of 12 and 28 parliamentary and state seats respectively in Peninsular Malaysia.

“In view that eight years have passed, the EC conducted a review on the electoral boundaries for the areas in the Federal Territories and other states, as provided under Section 2 of Article 113 of the Federal Constitution,” Najib said when presenting the report.

He said the total number of registered voters had increased by 36%, or an additional three million voters from 8,347,107 on Dec 27, 2001, to 11,379,352 voters on Sept 6, 2016.

The numbers in this report were based on the electoral roll that was gazetted by the EC in May 2016.

Perlis and Putrajaya are two areas which are spared from the changes. The changes vary from a name change to the redrawing of electoral borders.

Based on the EC’s recommendation, Johor, Selangor and Perak will witness the most changes involving 19, 18 and 16 parliamentary seats respectively.

Selangor has five name changes involving parliamentary seats and nine state seats.

The seats that will get new names are Bangi (P102), Subang (P104), Petaling Jaya (P105), Damansara (P106) and Sungai Buloh (P107).

These seats were previously known as Serdang, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Petaling Jaya Utara and Subang respectively.

The number of voters for the Sungai Buloh seat also dropped from 128,000 to 73,000, following the redrawing of electoral borders.

Meanwhile, the Damansara seat saw voters’ number rising to 150,439, making it the country’s largest parliamentary seat based on voters count. The seat, which was previously called Petaling Jaya Utara, had 85,400 voters.

The proposed Sungai Buloh (P107) seat now covers four local authorities — Selayang, Kuala Selangor, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.

The redrawing of the borders also saw about 28,000 voters being moved from the Kota Melaka seat (P138) to the nearby Hang Tuah Jaya (P137)

seat, which was formerly known as Bukit Katil. The exercise will see the Kota Melaka seat’s voters count reduced from 99,400 to 80,800.

Meanwhile, the 12 newly named parliamentary seats are Alor Setar, Bagan Datuk, Teluk Intan, Bangi (formerly known as Serdang), Subang (Kelana Jaya), Petaling Jaya (Petaling Jaya Selatan), Damansara (Petaling Jaya Utara), Sungai Buloh (Subang), Port Dickson (Telok Kemang), Hang Tuah Jaya (Bukit Katil), Iskandar Puteri (Gelang Patah) and Tanjung Piai (Tanjong Piai).

The EC’s report, which took two years to complete, detailed recommendations covering 132,000 sq ft of the states and Federal Territories.

Najib has defended the EC and the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

“The government has not interfered or influenced the EC in doing its duties. Moreover, the government always respects decisions made by the EC for the benefit of all, and for the interest of the people and country,” he said.

He said despite the EC’s recommendations against the government’s party, he did not suggest any amendments.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his winding up speech said the EC took into account all the grouses raised by the various parties.

“Although the government had objections to some of the recommendations from the EC, we did not meddle in their affairs as we accept and respect the EC’s decision and their proposed recommendations for the report,” he said.