Proposal for commission just for redelineation of electoral boundaries

Electoral Reform Committee chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

ALOR SETAR: The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) will propose the setting up of a special commission to carry out the redelineation of electoral boundaries in this country.

Its chairman, Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, said the move would reduce the workload of the Election Commission (EC), enabling it to focus on conducting the elections.

“This has been implemented in many developed countries. It will prevent the EC from being accused of carrying out the redelineation to enable certain political parties to win the elections.

“Canada, for example, has a boundary commission which is responsible for carrying out the redelineation exercise after a certain period and this measure is seen to be fairer for the EC and contesting political parties,” he said at a news conference, here, today.

Earlier, Rashid attended the Kedah state-level open engagement programme on the reform of the general election system and law.

He said the ERC was studying the models used in a number of countries, including Canada, Britain and New Zealand.

He explained that the special commission could be formed every eight years at least and its membership could be determined by a parliamentary select committee.

“This commission is not permanent, perhaps set up every eight years to carry out redelineation of the electoral boundaries. After that, it can be disbanded,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rashid said the ERC also proposed a “cooling-off period” after the election campaign period and before polling day.

He said Malaysia currently had no “cooling-off period”, causing EC officers and staff, the contesting political parties’ machinery and others involved to suffer from fatigue by the time the election campaign ended.

“We will study a suitable ‘cooling-off period’ for our elections, as implemented in other countries. Perhaps a duration of three days is suitable, so everyone will have enough rest before polling day.

“During the ‘cooling-off period’, election campaign posters can also be removed. Hence, voters will be fresh before casting their votes and will have enough time to make their decision,” he added.