Electoral boundary redelineation hearings begin in Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: The Election Commission (EC) has started hearing objections to the proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries in Sabah.

Commission Chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah chaired the first hearing that was also attended by four other members, according to a report in The Star on Wednesday.

The EC has proposed 13 new state constituencies for Sabah.

The proposal adds an additional state seat to the parliamentary constituencies of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Sepanggar, Putatan, Papar, Pensiangan, Beluran, Libaran, Kinabatangan Silam and Kalabakan.

However, there are no changes to the parliamentary seats.

The hearings in Sabah began with EC members hearing objections from four groups in the morning session.

The objections were in relation to the redelineation of the state consti­tuencies of Kepayan, Tandek, Petagas and the new seat of Dambai in Papar district, said the report.

The Star quoted pensioner Mickey Jangki as saying he told the hearing that the changes to the electoral boundaries would result in some voters from Kepayan being transferred to the Luyang constituency.

“I told the commission that it did not make sense for voters to be moved from one crowded constituency to another. Would it not make more sense to create a new state seat within the Penampang parliamentary constituency with its increasing population?” Mickey asked.

He said the EC members did not immediately respond to his objections, but said that another round of hearings would follow.

After two days of hearings here, the EC is expected to move on to other towns in the state.

The EC recently proposed to redraw the boundaries of parliamentary and state seats ahead of the next general election.

When the one-month period to lodge objections was up on Oct 14, the EC received 836 objections – the most ever received for such an exercise, according to The Star.

The main grouses were that the proposed redelineation created more single-race seats while reducing the number of mixed seats, a move that went against building harmonious ties between all races. There were also complaints that it created disproportionately sized constituencies.