Monday, March 9, 2015

Bersih outraged by SB in S’wak boundary hearings

6:17PM Mar 9, 2015
The presence of plainclothes police personnel in Sarawak electoral boundary hearings suggest something "sinister", said electoral watchdog group Bersih.

It was referring to Piasau assemblyperson Alan Ling’s (right)claim that he recognized four special branch officers who attended the Miri hearing, which is closed door.

"What legitimate stake does the Special Branch have in the process?

"The fact that the police were in plainclothes showed that they intended to disguise their identity, which points to a sinister motive on their part," Bersih said in a statement.

Expressing "outrage", Bersih said it is unacceptable that police are allowed in when others including lawyers, the media and voters other than those disputing the boundaries are not.

"Lawyers can help clarify any legal points that may be raised, the media can make the process transparent and educational for the public, and members of the public should be alerted on how a solution to other constituencies might affect theirs."

In fact, it said, the hearings should be completely open to anyone who chooses to attend.

'Racial prejudice'

When contacted, EC chief Abdul Aziz Yusuf said the commission will issue a statement on the matter.

He said the redelineation exercise is going well and that a second hearing will be called "not very far from this month".

The EC is proposing 11 new constituencies in Sarawak, as part of a redelineation exercise which should be done once in at least eight years. The last exercise was in 2003.

They are Batu Kitang, Stakan, Serembu, Triboh, Gedong, Kabong, Telian, Selirik, Murum, Samalaju and Long Lama.

SUPP and PKR claim that the new boundaries are prejudicial against Chinese voters, with Chinese majority seats having more than the average number of voters.

At the same time, constituencies like Simunjan, Sadong Jaya and Gedong, which all fall under the parliamentary constituency of Batang Sadong, have less than 8,000 voters each.

PKR argues that these constituencies should not be treated the same way as more interior constituencies which have few voters, because they are less than an hour’s drive from Kuching.

The Batang Sadong parliamentary constituency held by De-facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri has 74 percent Muslim bumiputera voters.

PKR has filed a judicial review application againt the redelineation proces.

~ Malaysiakini

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