PETALING JAYA: The move by Anwar Ibrahim and another voter to seek a declaration that their rights have been violated due to malapportionment of constituencies is legally misconceived, the Election Commission said.
Its chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the EC did not conduct any redelineation exercise in the second quarter of last year as claimed by Anwar and Azman Nazaruddin, a voter in Sungai Petani.
He said the 2013 general election for state and parliamentary seats was carried out based on the boundary redrawing exercise conducted in 2003.
“No exercise was carried out after that period,” he said in an affidavit to strike out the suit filed by Anwar, who is also a voter in Permatang Pauh.
Both filed their action at the Alor Setar High Court last Nov 22 and claimed their right under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which provides for equality to all citizens, had been violated.
Anwar, who is currently in jail on a sodomy conviction, and Azman want the High Court to declare that there was a voter disparity when compared with other constituencies in the peninsula.
The opposition leader said there were 80,574 voters in the second quarter of last year in Permatang Pauh compared with 71,699 voters when the 13th general election was conducted on May 5, 2013.
He also said the number of voters in Lipis, Gerik, Lenggong, Padang Rengas, Kuala Kangsar, Parit, Bagan Datok, Labis, Sembrong, Pengerang, Padang Terap and Sik was, by comparison, between 35,000 and 50,000.
Azman said there were 101,219 voters in his constituency in the second half of last year compared with 93,175 people on the electoral roll during the 13th general election.
Anwar and Azman said these were due to malapportionments arising from unfair redelineation of constituencies.
Hashim said the current redelineation exercise, which began in September 2016, had not be finalised.
“This proposal will be in a report that will be presented to the prime minister for the Dewan Rakyat to decide,” he said in the affidavit sighted by FMT.
He said the recommendations could only be implemented for the states of Malaya if supported by a majority of MPs and if it obtained royal assent.
“It is clear that the plaintiffs’ application for the declaration is misconceived in law,” the EC chief said.
Hashim said the number of voters in Permatang Pauh, Sungai Petani or any other parliamentary seat would have gone up between 2013 and last year due to the registration of new voters and voters moving out to new constituencies.
He said under Article 113 (1) of the Federal Constitution, the EC was empowered to prepare and revise electoral rolls on a quarterly basis while redelineation exercises were carried out under Article 113 (2) at an interval of at least eight years
Meanwhile, Anwar’s lawyer Shahid Ali Kamaruddin said his client would reply Hashim’s affidavit, and that case management had been fixed for Feb 23.