KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate has urged the Election Commission (EC) to halt the ongoing re-delineation exercise in Sabah until the integrity of the current electoral rolls has been verified and established. “A proper study must be carried out to ensure that there are no bogus MyKads or illegal immigrants holding MyKads on the electoral rolls,” said Daniel John Jambun in a statement.
Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), was expressing fears in the wake of reports that the current 60 state seats will be increased by 12 new constituencies to make a total of 72. “Most NGOs have worked out that at least 12 of the existing 60 state seats were suspect.”
“The integrity of these 12 old seats must be settled first.”
Jambun recalled that there were only 48 state seats in 1994 i.e. 20 Orang Asal, 8 Chinese and 20 Muslim. “By the next state election, the 20 Muslim seats had increased to 32 seats.”
“There was no increase in the number of Orang Asal and Chinese seats. This was just to prevent the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) from making a comeback. It’s the suspect 12 state seats that continue to keep Umno in power in Sabah. Now, it appears that the EC wants to further increase the 32 seats by a majority of the 12 new seats.”
Jambun was commenting on Sabah Election Commission Director Mohd Idrus Ismail announcing the re-delineation exercise in Sabah will be finalized once the Sarawak polls are over.
He reiterated that any re-delineation exercise in Sabah which does not weed out suspect seats, will not be fair to all parties. “The exercise was likely to be used as an instrument for demographic realignment to the disadvantage of the Orang Asal.”
“Since 1963, it’s an open secret that the EC has been party to re-engineering the demography in the electoral rolls in Sabah.”
He urged the EC to bear in mind that the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) Report on illegal immigrants in Sabah has exposed what the powers-that-be were engaged in the state. “The EC must clean up the electoral rolls first, not further increase the number of seats, at the expense of Sabahans.”
“Any further increase in the number of state seats would surely be at the expense of the Orang Asal in particular as indicated by developments after 1994.”
Jambun went on to reiterate that it was no secret that the electoral roll in Sabah was notorious for being heavily tainted. “Many people from neighbouring countries, holding MyKads overnight, are on the electoral rolls.”
“This was established in the Likas election petition case of 1999.”
After the Likas case, the EC moved to amend the law to state that no electoral roll can be challenged in Court after being gazetted. “It’s clear that the EC wanted to whitewash the electoral rolls by hiding behind the laws to cover up wrongdoing and sweeping them under the carpet.”