KOTA KINABALU : “The redelineation of parliamentary constituencies must take into account and restore constitutional safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak and ensure that federal parliamentary seats for Malaya should not be more than 65% as agreed upon from the outset during the formation of Malaysia” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, when asked to comment on the proposed redelineation exercise to be undertaken by the Election Commission.
The uniqueness of the special position of the Borneo States in the formation of Malaysia has resulted in constitutional safeguards being agreed upon and provided for to ensure the rights of Sabah and Sarawak were not diluted or removed over time by the federal lawmakers from Malaya.
It was recommended by the representatives of the Malayan government in the Cobbold Commission and concurred by their British counterparts that “representation of the Borneo territories in the Federal Government shall take account not only of their populations but also of their size and potentialities”. This was set out in paragraphs 190(g), 165 and 236(a)(i) of the Cobbold Commission Report.
One of the reasons for Sabah to agree to form Malaysia was the need for development. The reason for considering size and potentialities would also expedite development in Sabah. For instance, Kinabatangan District is as big as the State of Pahang and represented by a single MP and Keningau District with an area of 3,533 sq. km. shares its MP with Tambunan District but is larger than the combined area (3,505 sq.km.) of Penang, Malacca and Perlis which has a combined 26 MPs.
Imagine the disparity in allocations for the MPs and development funds? It is not rocket science why Sabah lags way behind in development.
In addition, the EC must involve the Sabah State Government in the proposed redelineation exercise as envisaged and agreed upon by the founding fathers of the Federation of Malaysia as provided for in paragraph 30(1) of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report which states that:-
30. (1) It is mentioned in other parts of this Report that the Federal Constitution should provide that certain provisions relating to the Borneo States should not be amended or repealed without the concurrence of the Government of the State concerned. These provisions relate to immigration, citizenship, representation in the Federal Parliament and the High Court of the Borneo States. …………
Whether unintentional or devious, the ratio of parliamentary seats for Malaya was manipulated through the years from 65% in 1963 (with 104 out of 159 seats) to the current 75% (with 166 out of 222 seats) which renders constitutional safeguards meaningless for Sabah and Sarawak.
“Therefore, the redelineation exercise in the 50th or golden jubilee year of the formation of Malaysia provides a golden opportunity for both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers to rectify a grave mistake of the past and restore the special position of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation” added Jeffrey.
It also provides the golden opportunity for the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in waiting to put their words into action with regards to honouring the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak and the latter whose Buku Jingga and the Kuching Declaration had promised to honour and respect the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement. They need to show that they mean what they say and that their words are not election gimmicks.
It is also a golden opportunity for the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to fulfill their moral and legal duty to use the redelineation exercise to restore the ratio of lawmakers from the Borneo States to 35%.
It’s a lost opportunity STAR did not get to send their representative to the Federal Parliament, who would have led the move to restore parity of representatives from Sabah and Sarawak in the Federal Parliament pursuant to the redelineation exercise.
Equally important, it will give an opportunity to the people of Sabah and Sarawak to see for themselves whether their elected representatives especially their Sabah and Sarawak federal Ministers will be brave and courageous enough to stand up in Parliament for the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.
The people of Sabah and Sarawak are not the only ones watching them, the whole world will be watching them and awaiting their decisions and their counterparts in BN and PR too.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the commission would display the draft of its redelineation to the public for registered voters, state governments and local councils to present their views and objections before submitting the final report to the Dewan Rakyat for approval. This exercise will be conducted according to the utmost level of transparency before going to Parliament to be debated, so there is no question of us trying to conceal anything from the people,” Wan Ahmad said when contacted.ReplyDelete
He said that any proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries would require the approval of a simple majority in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat. The creation of any new constituencies would require two-thirds support.Whether new constituencies would be created, he said Logically, there should be more seats because there have been so many new voters since the 12th general election.ReplyDelete
Many people are unaware of how the review is conducted and merely believe some political parties which accuse SPR of not doing our job in accordance with the law.According to Article 113(2)(ii) of the Federal Constitution, the redelineation of the constituencies must be made within a period of not less than eight years and not more than 10 years from the completion of the previous review.ReplyDelete
Wan Ahmad said the Federal Constitution provided a maximum of two years for the commission to complete the review. The last redelineation exercise was completed in March 2003, and while the next review should have started in March 2011, the EC decided to postpone it because it was preparing for the 13th general election.Responding to allegations that the EC would attempt to gerrymander the electoral boundaries to favour Barisan Nasional, Wan Ahmad said Many people are unaware of how the review is conducted and merely believe some political parties which accuse SPR of not doing job in accordance with the law.ReplyDelete
On why small urban constituencies have more voters than large rural seats, Wan Ahmad said it was to ensure that voters in urban, semi-urban and rural constituencies all had reasonable access to services by their elected representatives and local councils.Citing an example, Wan Ahmad said the parliamentary constituency of Puchong had 107,010 voters but residents enjoy good access to services and the elected representative can travel throughout the constituency within a few hours by car.ReplyDelete
The parliamentary constituency of Silam in Sabah, on the other hand, has only 51,662 voters but is remote and is as large as Negri Sembilan and Malacca combined, he added.To ensure equal voter weightage, SPR will have to widen the boundary of Silam even further and this would be unfair to the voters as it would make it even harder for them to get service of their elected representatives and local council who will have even more ground to cover.ReplyDelete
On why Putrajaya, which only has 15,791 voters, was considered a single parliamentary constituency when its neighbouring constituencies had more voters, Wan Ahmad said This is because the constituency of Putrajaya was formed not by a redelineation exercise but by an Act of Parliament following the establishment of the administrative capital.It is therefore not possible to merge Putrajaya with any of its neighbouring parliamentary constituencies.ReplyDelete
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan MPs would not support the boundary redelineation exercise although two-thirds majority is not required for the exercise (unless it involves creation of new constituencies).He alleged that the EC had lost its credibility and was complicit in electoral frauds, and as such, Pakatan did not recognise its legitimacy.ReplyDelete
The relineation will take into account the views of Sabah and Sarawak representatives and to see whether they agree or not so its fair.ReplyDelete
This is an effort by SPR according to law. Redelineation has to be done every 8 to 10 years.ReplyDelete
It is also safe as it has to be discuss and done according to what has been agreed by the majority in the parliament.ReplyDelete
Dr Jeffrey, Pls get your facts right :- It was MALAYA 104 seats, SINGAPORE 15 seats, SABAH 16 seats & SARAWAK 24 seats. So, only 40 seats for Sabah & Sarawak vs 104 seats for West Malaysia. So, Not 35% as you have stated.ReplyDelete
SPR menafikan dakwaan ahli akademik sistem “first past the post” yang diamalkan di Malaysia akan mengekalkan kuasa pemerintah Barisan Nasional (BN) selama-lamanya dan mengatakan ianya diantara yang terbaik di dunia .Dalam satu forum di Petaling Jaya pada Rabu, Timbalan Pengarah Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya (UMCEDEL) Amer Saifude mengatakan BN akan terus kekal memerintah selagi sistem pengundian “first past the post” terus digunakan di Malaysia walaupun persempadanan semula dilakukan.ReplyDelete
“First past the post ni, bukan sampai bila-bila BN menang. First past the post ni adalah satu sistem yang simple di mana pertandingan nak merebut kerusi dalam satu kawasan,” kata Timbalan Pengerusi SPR Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.ReplyDelete
“Kerana first past the post ini, BN tak dapat majoriti dua pertiga dalam PRU13 (pilihan raya umum ke 13). Kerana first past the post ini, kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Selangor menang dengan majoriti dua pertiga di Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN),” tambah beliau lagi.ReplyDelete
Menurut Wan Ahmad lagi, sistem pilihan raya diguna pakai di Malaysia turut digunakan oleh negara-negara yang maju dan telah lama mengamalkan demokrasi.ReplyDelete
“Britian, dah berapa ratus tahun mengamalkan proses demokrasi sampai sekarang dia guna first past the post.ReplyDelete
“Australia, first past the post. New Zealand first past the post campur dengan mix sikit. Proportional Representation (PR) sistem sikit. India, negara demokrasi terbesar di dunia 800 juta pengundi first past the post,” katanya.
Timbalan pengerusi SPR itu turut menjelaskan, jika sistem first past the post itu tidak adil, tidak mungkin PR dapat menang banyak kerusi termasuk beberapa negeri.ReplyDelete
“Kerana first past the post ini, Kelantan diperintah oleh satu parti sahaja, PAS selama 25 tahun. Di Pulau Pinang, DAP menang di semua kerusi yang ditandinginya. Saya rasa orang yang buat kenyataan ini tak faham sistem pilihan raya di Malaysia.
Dalam Pilihan Raya 2013, PR berjaya mengekalkan pemerintahan di negeri Selangor, Pulau Pinang dan Kelantan akan tetapi gagal untuk mempertahankan penguasaan di negeri Kedah.ReplyDelete
PR juga gagal merampas semula negeri Perak yang mereka menangi pada tahun 2008.
Amer turut menjelaskan persempadanan semula kawasan pilihan raya pada akhir tahun ini akan memberi kelebihan kepada gabungan dipimpin oleh Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan akan memberikan keputusan lebih baik kepada BN berbanding Pilihan Raya 2013.ReplyDelete
Beliau bagaimanapun turut berkata sebarang keputusan dan cadangan bagi merombak kedudukan sempadan perlu mendapat keputusan dua pertiga anggota Dewan Rakyat di Parlimen.ReplyDelete
Najib dalam ucapannya mengakui bahawa landskap politik negara yang terus berubah pantas menerusi proses urbanisasi, pendidikan, taraf hidup dan perkembangan teknologi maklumat, memperlihatkan formula yang diguna pakai BN selama ini mungkin sudah tidak relevan lagi.ReplyDelete
“Kita tidak boleh anggap apa yang telah diguna pakai selama ini dianggap sesuai pada masa akan datang, kita mesti bersikap terbuka, pragmatik dan bukannya dogmatik," ujar beliau.ReplyDelete
Sehubungan itu beliau mengingatkan, walaupun BN sebuah parti yang unik- yang mampu mempertahankan kejayaannya sejak mentadbir negara, ia bukanlah jaminan keadaan akan kekal begitu.ReplyDelete
Kita kena berani berubah sebelum rakyat berubah, lakukan perubahan lebih pragmatik sebab sekali pun kita berkuasa sekian lama, budi yang kita tabur bukanlah hak kita untuk kita terus memimpin (untuk dipilih),” katanya.ReplyDelete
PRU13 menyaksikan BN menang dengan 133 kerusi Parlimen dan berjaya merampas Kedah.ReplyDelete