Withdraw redelineation report, Bersih tells Pandikar

From left: Bersih 2.0 executive director Yap Swee Seng, acting chairman Shahrul Aman, outreach officer Chan Tsu Chong and secretariat member Mandeep Singh at the press conference at its headquarters today.

PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 wants the Election Commission’s redelineation report to be withdrawn from the Dewan Rakyat until all legal challenges against the redelineation exercise are decided by the courts.

At a press conference today, Bersih 2.0 outreach officer Chan Tsu Chong said the group will submit a memorandum to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday on their demand.

Chan said the report should be withdrawn because there were several legal cases pending on the redelineation process, including challenges mounted by the Penang and Selangor governments.

“The Election Commission has displayed extreme bad faith and lack of respect for voters and their rights by submitting the report to the prime minister while cases are pending before the courts.

“One of the cases has 107 plaintiffs representing 10,000 voters. We are flabbergasted that the government and Parliament display such disrespect for the judiciary,” he said.

Chan was referring to a case where the objectors had taken the EC to court for failing to conduct a local inquiry.

“Also, the EC has to give voters two years notice before submitting the report to the prime minister.

“The EC published the notice on Sept 15, 2016. Therefore, there are still about six more months to allow for voter objections,” he said.

Chan then called for the public to support Bersih 2.0’s demand, by joining them at the gates of the Parliament building to submit the memorandum to Pandikar.

Sabah redelineation proposal

Bersih 2.0 had also asked the EC whether the proposed redelineation for Sabah will be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat next week.

Its secretariat member Mandeep Singh said although that redelineation report was completed last year and passed in the Sabah legislative assembly, it had yet to be brought to the Dewan Rakyat.

“We want to ask where is the Sabah report and if the government will table it at the current parliament sitting or will they wait until after the general election?”

Mandeep also questioned if the Sabah redelineation exercise had not been tabled due to the current political situation in the state.

The EC had proposed the creation of 13 new state seats in Sabah as part of its redelineation report last year.

The Dewan Rakyat is expected to pass the redelineation of electoral boundaries for peninsula states next week before Parliament is dissolved for the 14th general election.

EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah previously said that if passed by the Dewan Rakyat, the redelineation motion would be presented to the King for his royal consent.

He said the redelineation motion was supposed to have been passed two years ago but was delayed after opposition parties objected and took the matter to court.

Critics of Barisan Nasional (BN) have said the exercise will favour the coalition.

The EC submitted its report to Prime Minister Najib Razak on March 9 without completing hearings on objections to the changes in local inquiries.

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