Larger seats to ensure less opposition MPs, EC told to explain

Larger seats to ensure less opposition MPs, EC told to explain

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Johor Pakatan Harapan leaders today have condemned the Election Commission’s (EC) current redelineation exercise, saying it was to end Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s political career.

The statement is the latest in a series of criticism from opposition leaders over the EC exercise.

They point out that among the constituencies affected by the plan is Pagoh, the long-time Umno stronghold represented by Muhyiddin, who once served as the Johor menteri besar.

“It is understood that Pagoh has around 20,000 Umno members.

“By reducing the number of voters in this constituency, Umno is hoping that Muhyiddin’s political career will end,” said a joint statement by DAP state chief Liew Chin Tong of DAP, Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar of PKR and Aminolhuda Hassan of Amanah.

EC’s plan to increase the electorate of several parliamentary seats considered opposition strongholds was met with claims that the body was trying to ensure a Barisan Nasional (BN) victory at the next general election, which is due to be held in 2018.

Among the seats which could see more voters is Damansara, a new seat carved out to incorporate the current Petaling Jaya Utara seat held by DAP, as well as Bangi, Klang, Petaling Jaya and Subang.

Meanwhile, Gelang Patah, once held by the former Johor MB Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman before he was defeated by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang in 2013, would be the largest single seat in the state.

Similarly, constituencies such as Kota Raja, Kota Melaka, Kuala Terengganu, Sungai Petani, Tumpat and Kapar, which are all held by the opposition, each have voters numbering more than 100,000.

On the other hand, seats such as the predominantly civil servant Putrajaya and several BN seats in Perak have not seen any increase in voters, with only between 28,000 and 34,000 voters.

Opposition leaders fear that by transfering voters into seats they currently hold, the number of parlimentarians from the opposition would be reduced.

Kit Siang, who is DAP parliamentary leader, said the onus is on EC to come clean over its redelineation plan.

“…The underlying objective of the exercise is to ensure that UMNO/BN will not lose power in Johor in the next general election – just as in Selangor, the objective of the gerrymandering is to help Umno/BN to recapture power in the state.

“Onus is on Election Commission to prove that it is not gerrymandering the current constituency redelineation exercise as in the past to keep Umno in power,” he said in a statement.

On charges of gerrymandering, he recalled that it was the EC’s former chairman who himself confessed to undertaking such exercises to ensure a certain result.

Kit Siang was referring to Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman who once said he had gerrymandered the redelineations to ensure that the Malays remain in power.

The onus is on the Election Commission to prove that it is not gerrymandering the current constituency redelineation exercise as in the past to keep UMNO in power.

“This is a perversion of the constitutional mandate of the Election Commission to carry out constituency redelineation under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution when the purpose is to address malapportionment and not to allow gerrymandering,” said the DAP leader.

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