Sabah election void if 13 new seats not gazetted, says Warisan

Junz-Wong-sabah-electionKOTA KINABALU: Failure by Parliament to approve the additional 13 Sabah state seats could render the upcoming Sabah state election null and void, said Parti Warisan Sabah.

Warisan vice-president Junz Wong said contesting only 60 state seats would go directly against the amendment to the Sabah constitution which was approved by the Sabah assembly on Aug 9, 2016.

The amendment to Article 14 Clause (2) of the state constitution increased the number of Sabah assembly seats from 60 to 73 members.

“I have tried to talk about it at the last sitting but was told that it was not the right time to talk.

“To me, if the amendment was passed already by the assembly and if Parliament does not approve it, then it is an insult to Sabah and our constitution.

“From what I heard, they are having second thoughts because they are not confident about some of the seats.

“But whatever it is, they must respect us. Whether they like it or not, they must gazette it,” he said.

Wong, who is also Likas assemblyman, admitted that Warisan is hoping for the 13 new seats to be approved in Parliament because the party had based its work on the assumption that the new seats will be included in the coming general election.

Last year, Election Commission (EC) chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said that parliamentary approval is all that remains for the proposed electoral boundary redelineation to take effect in Sabah.

The proposed 13 state seats would see an additional six Muslim-majority, two non-Muslim majority, four mixed and one Chinese-majority.

Pintasan in the Kota Belud parliamentary constituency is among the new seats, with up to 90% Muslim voters.

Other Muslim-majority seats are Tanjung Dumpil in the Putatan parliamentary constituency, Pantai Dalit (Tuaran), Sungai Manila (Libaran), Lamag (Kinabatangan) and Kukusan (Kalabakan).

The four mixed seats are in Bengkoka (Kudat), Darau (Sepanggar), Telupid (Beluran) and Mengaris (Kota Marudu).

The two seats with non-Muslim Bumiputera majority are Dambai (Papar) and Tulid (Pensiangan).

The sole new Chinese-majority seat is Segama in Lahad Datu town, under the Silam parliamentary constituency.

Last year, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee also questioned the state government on the status of the additional seats, saying that if the state election this year is only for 60 assembly seats, then it is possible that a breach of the Sabah constitution would occur.

SAPP: Dissolve Sabah assembly if new seats not approved