PETALING JAYA: The move by the Election Commission (EC) to publish the second round of the public display for the 2016 constituency delimitation exercise is “unprecedented and unconstitutional”, says DAP’s Ong Kian Ming.
The Serdang MP said the noticFe, which was published in various newspapers as well as a federal government Gazette yesterday, is unconstitutional because it excludes the parliamentary and state seats in the state of Selangor in the second public display.
“This is unprecedented in the history of delimitation exercises in Malaysia.
“According to Article 113 (6) of the Federal Constitution, there shall be separate reviews undertaken in each delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya and for each of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The Federal Constitution also clearly states that the delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya (or ‘Tanah Melayu’) – in other words, Peninsular Malaysia – must be undertaken as a single unit of review,” he said in a statement today.
Ong, who is DAP’s election strategist, therefore said the delimitation exercise for the “States of Malaya” cannot be presented in Parliament without the inclusion of Selangor.
He called the move highly questionable, especially for the urgency with which the EC seems to be pushing for this second public display without Selangor.
“The delimitation exercise for Selangor is currently being challenged by the Selangor state government in the High Court.
“This legal challenge – the first time that a delimitation exercise has been challenged by a state government – has prevented the EC from starting the local enquiry process and hearing the objections to the delimitation exercise in Selangor.”
Last December, it was reported that the Selangor state government was granted leave to challenge the EC’s proposal to redelineate boundaries, and was seeking a stay from judicial commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan to stop the EC from holding further inquiries on its proposed redelineation exercise.
“The legal challenge by the Selangor state government is a highly important check and balance on the ability of the EC to redraw boundaries in an arbitrary fashion, not just in Selangor, but also in other states in Peninsular Malaysia that are part of the same ‘unit of review’.
“Going by past precedents, the EC should wait for the decision of the High Court on the Selangor case before taking the next step in the delimitation process,” Ong said, adding that in the event the High Court ruled in favour of the Selangor state government, the EC cannot proceed with the public inquiry in Selangor.
He said that the EC’s only recourse was to go through the full legal process with an appeal at the Court of Appeals and perhaps all the way to the Federal Court in order to seek a favourable ruling.
“As such, this legal action by Selangor would delay the EC from presenting the completed delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia to the prime minister for parliamentary approval.
“Therefore, the decision to announce the second public display for all the states in the peninsula except for Selangor shows that it may want to push through a delimitation exercise that leaves the boundaries in Selangor as they are but with the proposed changes in the other states, many of which favour the BN.”
Ong then called for the second public display of the constituency delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia to also be challenged in court as it was unconstitutional.
“This clearly shows that the actions of the EC are not of an independent body. So Malaysians must continue to advocate for a strong and independent Election Commission.”
Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali today warned that he would go to court if the EC submits its proposal on the delineation exercise for the peninsula to the prime minister but excludes his state.
Azmin said he was informed that the EC had submitted its review to Prime Minister Najib Razak to be approved by Parliament.
“If it is true, we will challenge that position because the law does not allow a review to be presented to the prime minister without the entire unit of Semenanjung (Peninsular Malaysia),” he said.
Azmin, who is also Gombak MP, said this to reporters after attending an on-going court proceeding on a challenge by Selangor against the EC’s delineation exercise in the state.