Redelineation: Shafie slams Najib for ‘silencing Sabahans’

Opposition MPs, led by opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (centre), at the press conference in the Dewan Rakyat today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal said the voices of Sabahans were silenced with the passing of the redelineation report by the Dewan Rakyat today, as the motion had not included the 13 new state seats for Sabah.

Referring to the report on the redrawing of electoral boundaries by the Election Commission, the Semporna MP accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of failing to include the 13 new state seats that were in an earlier redelineation report passed by the Sabah state assembly in 2016.

“What we saw today was the government bulldozing through the report which was tabled, debated and passed on the same day, with MPs given only 10 minutes to debate the motion.

“What I brought up was to do with Article 9 of the Federal Constitution, that says ‘when EC has decided a report and it is given to the PM, the PM as the executive has to bring this to be tabled in Parliament’.

“Unfortunately, the voices of Sabah have been silenced as the recommendations passed by the state assembly two years ago should have been brought to the Dewan Rakyat as well but were not,” he said at a press conference after the delineation motion was passed.

Shafie added that this had violated the Federal Constitution.

“The prime minister cannot overrule the decision made by the state assembly. No PM can do that.”

Meanwhile, Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, who was at the centre of controversy after having been suspended by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia but who remained in the house as there was no follow-through action to suspend him, was not allowed to vote, according to opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“Our democracy has been destroyed after the motion was bulldozed today.

“Gelang Patah was not allowed to vote despite being in the Dewan.

“His vote should have been counted as well. This is unfair. The people of Gelang Patah should have had a vote against the EC’s report,” said Wan Azizah, who is Permatang Pauh MP and PKR president.

Seremban MP Anthony Loke said all opposition leaders, including those from PAS, had voted against the report.

“Unfortunately, Lim was not allowed to vote despite the fact that there was no decision from the speaker to suspend him.

“The motion to suspend him, that was read by Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said, had no decision made on it.

“He should have still had the right to vote as an MP,” Loke said.

Lim told reporters that he was left in the “twilight zone” after the debacle on his suspension.

“I do not know if I am suspended today or not. If I was suspended today, then I should not have been in the Dewan.

“If I’m not suspended, then my vote should have counted. What happened today was extraordinary and a black letter day in Parliament.

“I agree with what Semporna (Shafie) said, that the constitution has been violated and the Dewan Rakyat standing orders have been besmirched.

“After this, only a political tsunami will be able to overcome the effects of the constituency redelineation that will favour Barisan Nasional,” the DAP parliamentary leader said.