If the claim by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad on Sunday that the Election Commission's electoral constituency
redelineation exercise is fair based on the distribution of the
population is true, and the
redelineation has been carried without any political agenda, then Selangor
should have 10 additional seats and have the largest
number of 27 Parliamentary seats and not Johore.
Under the draft redelineation proposals
announced by the Election Commission on 8th August,
Johore with 1,223,532 registered voters is allocated 26 Parliamentary
seats, the most number of parliamentary seats for any state in Peninsular
Malaysia, which violates the principle observed by the Election Commission in
all previous redelineation exercises that the state in Peninsular Malaysia
with the most number of registered voters leads in having the most number
of parliamentary seats.
In the 1993 redelineation exercise for instance, Perak
leads with the most number of 1,045,535 registered voters followed by
Johore taking second place with 982,484 voters and Selangor in third place with
949,317 voters, with each allocated 23, 20
and 17 parliamentary seats respectively.
What is the rationale for the Election Commission proposing
a six-seat increase for Johore when it has a 24.53% increasse of registered
voters from 982,484 in the previous
redelineation exercise in 1993 to 1,223,532 in 2002, when Selangor, which now
has more voters with 1,368,693 is allocated five seats when there is a
44.18% increase of registered voters in
the state from 949,317 in 1993?
If with 24.53% increase of registered voters from the
previous redelineation exercise in 1993, Johore is allocated a 30% increase of
its parliamentary seats from 20 in 1993 to 26 as currently proposed, then
Selangor with a 44.18% increase in registered voters should have a 60% increase
in its parliamentary seats – or an increase of another 10 seats instead of the
This will give Selangor a total of 27 parliamentary seats
for its 1,368,693 voters, a seat more than the 26 now proposed for Johore with
its 1,223,532 voters – which
would be in accordance with the redelineation principle followed by the Election
Commission in the past 44 years that the Peninsular state with the most largest
number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats.
Can the Election Commission explain why in the 2002
redelineation exercise, it has violated the redelineation principle it had
adhered to for the past 44 years that
the state in Peninsular Malaysia with
the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of
parliamentary seats – by which principle Selangor should have 27 or 10 new
The answer seems quite simple. The 2002 redelineation exercise has an underlying political
agenda – to shore up the Barisan Nasional to enable it to retain the
parliamentary two-thirds majority in the next general election.
Giving 10 new parliamentary seats to Selangor is quite
dicey politically, as in the 1999 general election, Barisan Nasional only
secured 53.84% of the total votes cast, losing six State Assembly seats to the
Opposition; while giving six new
parliamentary seats to Johore is regarded as a “sure bet” for the Barisan
Nasional as Johore is regarded as its “fortress”, with Barisan Nasional
securing 71% of the votes cast in the state, sweeping all the 20 Parliamentary
and 40 State Assembly seats in the state.
If so, the 2002 redelineation exercise
is most unfair, undemocratic, violates the principle of one-man one-vote,
and fatally flawed as being motivated by the extraneous and even
unconstitutional consideration to shore up
the Barisan Nasional’s two-thirds parliamentary majority and political
hegemony in the next general election.
I am prepared to be proved wrong and await the Election
Commission’s justification for violating the long-held redelineation principle
that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered
voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats and why Selangor is
not given another 10 seats to have the largest number of
27 parliamentary seats when it has more registered voters than Johore.
Similarly, the Election Commission has still to give
coherent and convincing reasons and the redelineation principles
used to justify as to why there is no increase of any parliamentary seat
for the four states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu – apart from
Barisan Nasional’s electoral weakness in these four states.
The failure to give a single new parliamentary seat to the
four states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu is another violation by
the Election Commission’s long-held
In these four states, the increase of registered voters
since the last redelineation exercise in 1993 were 21.76% for Terengganu, 17.4%
for Kedah, 16.2% for Kelantan and 12 % for Perlis.
If these four states are not given increased parliamentary seats with such increase of registered voters, why were the other states (where Barisan Nasional feels stronger) given new seat increases? Perak with 8.12% increase of registered is given one new parliamentary seat, Penang with 14.58% increase given two-seat increase, Pahang with 21.39% increase three new seats, and Negri Sembilan and Malacca one new seat each with 20.04% and 23% increase of new voters respectively.