Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bersih 2.0 briefs 20 foreign diplomats on Sarawak delineation irregularities

BY HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and other members at the briefing for the foreign diplomats. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 20, 2015.
Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and other members at the briefing for the foreign diplomats. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 20, 2015.
Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 yesterday briefed 20 foreign diplomats on the Election Commission’s (EC) proposal to redraw electoral boundaries in Sarawak, highlighting alleged irregularities and the lack of transparency in the way the redelineation has been handled.
Diplomats from the countries, including United States, France, German, Russia, Britain, Australia and Singapore, were told in a two-hour briefing that the redelineation process lacked transparency.
“We shared with them what is going on with the redelineation exercise in Sarawak. It has already begun and we see that it lacks transparency,” Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said after the event in Petaling Jaya.
“The maps provided are unacceptable as they do not display roads, hills, and rivers. Some polling district centres are also not mentioned and cannot be found.
“The EC expects the public to understand the information and make their objections, but that is impossible.”
It is learnt that the diplomats may arrange a meeting with the EC to obtain a response on the issues raised by Bersih in the briefing yesterday.
Bersih 2.0 information officer Rama Ramanathan said the new electoral boundaries proposed were shocking as only 52 of the 82 state seats could be seen clearly on the maps.
He said the EC had also failed to explain why it was adding 11 more state seats in Sarawak, and why the distribution of voters was uneven.
Bersih 2.0 information officer Rama Ramanathan says the Election Commission has failed to explain why it was adding 11 more state seats in Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 20, 2015.Bersih 2.0 information officer Rama Ramanathan says the Election Commission has failed to explain why it was adding 11 more state seats in Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 20, 2015.“Analysts who have done some research claim that 118 polling district centres cannot be detected on the map. What has happened to these centres?
“They are clearly hiding it. But with Google Maps, Google Earth and the array of maps we use now, the EC cannot hide anymore.”
Rama said their research also showed 35% of the names listed in the state’s electoral roll did not have addresses.
He said based on the new boundaries drawn, more than 120,000 voters were unaware that they would now be voting in different constituencies.
“Without any addresses, how will the voters know they have been shifted? This is a large number. How are they to make objections against it?” he said.
On January 5, the EC put on display for public feedback its recommendations to increase the number of Sarawak state constituencies by 11 to 82.
The 11 new seats proposed are N.13 Batu Kitang, N.17 Stakan, N.18 Serembu, N.23 Triboh, N.26 Gedong, N.40 Kabong, N.57 Telian, N.63 Selirik, N.66 Murum, N.70 Samalaju and N.78 Long Lama.
Besides the new seats, the EC has also recommended a change of name for one parliamentary and four state constituencies.
The proposal to increase seats is believed to be made now due to the impending state elections, which must be held by April next year. There is also speculation that a snap poll in the Borneo state could be held this year.
The boundary redelineation process was supposed to start late last year for the entire country but the floods that ravaged the northeastern states of the peninsula disrupted the plan, forcing the EC to postpone it to this year at a date that has yet to be determined. – January 20, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/bersih-2.0-briefs-20-foreign-diplomats-on-sarawak-delineation-irregularitie#sthash.By2LWxf4.dpuf

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