Can Mahathir give assurance that next general election will not be held with new redelineation of constituencies until Putrajaya has at least 30,000 registered voters?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said two days ago at the ceremony marking the completion of the Putrajaya Lake that he was confident that the total registered electors for Putrajaya parliamentary constituency would exceed 30,000 voters by the next general election and not be  the present total of 85 registered voters. (Berita Harian 21.8.02)

Malaysia will be an international laughing stock if the next general election is held with 85 voters in Putrajaya electing one MP while 90,187 voters in Johore Bahru also elect one MP (as proposed by the  Election Commission)  – which means that the one vote in Putrajaya is equal to 1,061 votes in Johore Bahru, a totally ridiculous and unthinkable deviation from the democratic principle of one-man one-vote, one-value.

The Election Commission Secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar was misleading the people and country when he said that as an urban constituency, Putrajaya must have at least 30,000 voters before it could be contested in the next general election – a position not founded either on the election laws or the Federal Constitution.

In fact, in creating a completely new parliamentary constituency in an area with no existing population, there should have been a clear legal or constitutional qualification that the new constituency would not become operative until its total of registered voters had reached the 30,000 mark.

In the event, if the next general election is held after the parliamentary passage of the new redelineation of electoral constituencies, although Putrajaya’s electorate will be more than 85 voters with the current round-the-year voters’ registration system, what is there to guarantee that it would reach the minimum 30,000-voters  mark?

Or will Putrajaya  become  the parliamentary constituency with  the smallest electorate in Peninsular Malaysia, even smaller than the Lenggong parliamentary seat in Perak with 21,148 voters?

Mahathir may be right that in the next general election, Putrajaya will have more than 85 registered voters but wrong that it would have more than 30,000 voters.

Can Mahathir give an assurance that the  next general election will not be held with new redelineation of constituencies until Putrajaya has at least 30,000 registered voters?

In dismissing the allegation of  unfairness in the constituency redelineation where Kedah and Terengganu have not been allocated new seats, the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman contended that if justice is the consideration, then the Election Commission should give greater attention to increase new constituencies in Johore and Selangor as they both showed higher rate of development, with Johore having over  1.2 million voters while Selangor has over 1.3 million voters. (Berita Harian).

Rashid was just being argumentative without  addressing the basic objections to the 2002 redelineation exercise by the Election Commission, viz: 

I had pointed out one disturbing feature of the current redelineation exercise, that it is more unfair and undemocratic than the two previous redelineation exercises in 1994 and 1984.

A study of all the redelineation exercises in 1974, 1984, 1994 and 2002, based on a 25% maximum deviation rule from the national parliamentary quota (the peninsular average of  number of electors per parliamentary constituency) gives the following figures:


Comparison of seats not fulfilling 25% condition pre and post delineation 

Delineation Exercises

Number of Parliamentary Seats not fulfilling 25% condition pre delineation (% in brackets)

Number of Parliamentary Seats not fulfilling 25% condition post delineation (% in brackets)


22 / 104    (21%)

38 / 114    (33%)


52 / 114    (46%)

50 / 132    (38%)


55 / 132    (42%)

49 / 144    (33%)


54 / 144    (38%)

73 / 164    (45%)

The 1974 redelineation was unfair, as it led to greater deviation in more constituencies  from the 25% rule after redelineation. In  the 1984 and 1994 exercises,  both saw a decrease (in absolute and % terms) of the number of parliamentary seats not fulfilling the 25% condition after the redrawing. However, the 2002 exercise saw a substantial increase in the number of seats not fulfilling the condition from 54 to 73 (and from 38% to 45%). 

If the 25% rule was followed (higher  than the 15% rule which was abolished in 1962), these delineation exercises would never qualify because at least 30% of the parliamentary seats do not fulfilled the conditions set by this rule. 

Can the Election Commission give a cogent, coherent and reasoned response to these objections to the 2002 redelineation exercise without beating about the bush?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman