Bersih welcomes halt on EC’s map proposal for Melaka

bersih-2-spr-1PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has welcomed the Melaka High Court’s decision to issue a stay order on the local inquiry proceedings for the revised redelineation proposal by the Election Commission (EC) pending the conclusion of the judicial review.

Calling it a “highly significant development”, Bersih said there was a “severe inequality of voters” among constituencies in the same state, and boundaries drawn that do not maintain local ties.

“These are being proposed by the EC in favour of the ruling party in many constituencies, as revealed by Bersih 2.0 and other research groups working on this issue.”

In a statement today, the steering committee added that a serious case of malapportionment could mean that the outcome of an election would be decided even before it was called.

However, it said, it had hoped that the court would have granted the seven plaintiffs a stay of the proceedings for the entire country, adding that it was “unprecedented” for the EC to move on to the revised proposal without Selangor, which has obtained a stay order on local inquiry proceedings.

Last month, seven voters in the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency filed an application for leave to seek judicial review of the EC’s proposed redelineation of certain parliamentary and state constituencies in the state.

The seven – Chan Tsu Chong, Neo Lih Xin, Azura Talib, Lim Kah Sheng, Norhizam Hassan Baktee, Amir Khairudin and Amran Atan – sought a declaration that the proposed redelineation following a 2016 study was unconstitutional as it was inconsistent with Clause 113 and the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, and null and void.

Chan, who represented the other six, alleged that the EC, by its action, had caused a glaring gap in the number of voters in certain constituencies in Melaka, especially the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency and Taboh Naning state constituency.

Nevertheless, Bersih said, the stay order granted for the Selangor and Melaka redelineation proposals showed there were serious issues with them that merit the consideration of the courts.

“As it is, the electoral roll, which forms the basis of the proposal, is known to be plagued with names that have no addresses and other discrepancies such as dubious voters being transferred, especially into marginal seats, in violation of election regulations and even the constitution.

“Fair electoral boundaries is one of the foundations for fair elections,” it said, adding that the EC could expect more lawsuits to come.