Ethnic flavour as EC redraws election boundaries in Selangor

persempadanan-semula

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) has drawn up more Malay majority state seats in the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government under its proposed delineation exercise, the High Court heard today.

Counsel Cyrus Das said 30 Malay predominant seats were suggested, compared to 17 currently.

“This is the result of gerrymandering and the malapportionment exercise which are against guidelines established in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Das is appearing for the Selangor government and Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali in a judicial review application to challenge the EC’s delineation exercise. He said Chinese majority seats had gone up from five to eight.

“However, multi-ethnic seats in the state that reflect the racial composition of Malaysia has been reduced from 34 to 18,” he said.

Das said it was very important that the drawing of boundaries must be proportionate and approximately equal.

He said the Damansara, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Serdang, Klang, Kapar and Kelana Jaya parliament seats had more than 100,000 voters although size wise, they were small.

“Compare Damansara (154,000 voters) and Sabak Bernam (37,000 voters ) which is bigger in size,” he added.

He said Selangor was a developed state in almost all aspects and there need not be wide disparity between two constituencies.

He said the EC’s proposal for Selangor went against the one-man, one-vote and one value principle as this amounted to discrimination.

“For example, the assemblyman in Subang Jaya represents 66,000 voters while Ayer Tawar only 15,000,” he said, adding that 26 of the total 56 seats in Selangor were in this category.

Earlier, Das said the EC was established under the constitution and Article 114(2) which stated that in appointing its members, the Yang Di Pertuan Agong ensured it inspired public confidence.

“Such expectation is not stated in the constitution on other appointments,” he said.

He said the EC was expected to act independently, away from pressure of the executive arm of the government or political parties.

Das said the EC was expected to follow the law because they were an entity in the constitution and cannot act arbitrarily.

He pointed out that while the EC’s delineation proposal to Parliament could be passed by majority vote, in a court of law its act must conform with the law.

Selangor is seeking to nullify the EC’s notice of re-delineation as it argues it violates the constitution in drawing its new electoral boundaries.

The Selangor government also wants a declaration that the notice is lacking in details and will cause voters, local authorities or the state government to be unable to exercise their constitutional right to file representations.

It wants the court to quash the EC’s notice and an order to direct it to publish a fresh notice on the proposed exercise.

The EC published an 18-page notice in major newspapers in September on the proposed re-delineation in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

Hearing before judicial commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan was adjourned to Jan 24.