Wednesday, March 4, 2015

EC’s local inquiry: 300 voters air their objections in Simunjan

Posted on March 3, 2015, Tuesday

Some representatives of the objectors show their objections at Simunjan Community Hall on Feb 25.
KUCHING: Three groups of voters from Batang Sadong parliamentary constituency, totalling more than 300 people, aired their objections during the Election Commission (EC)’s local inquiry held at Simunjan Community Hall on Feb 25.

Two groups were from Simunjan and the other was from the proposed Gedong state constituency.

Most of them were PKR members and supporters, and they told the EC there was no justification for Simunjan to be split into Gedong and Simunjan.

“N25 Simunjan is already small in terms of area and electorate.

It has been reduced from about 1,347 sq. km to a mere 415 sq. km.

“This also does not augur well for its development prospects. There are no difficulties for an ADUN (assemblyman) to travel from one end to the other in Simunjan as the state constituency is well connected by roads,” they said in a joint press statement.

Citing figures from the last general election, they said the current Simunjan seat had only 11,205 registered voters, which was below the state’s average of 13,526 voters.

“Now the EC proposed that N25 Simunjan have only 7,885 voters. Can EC be said to have followed the principle set out in Section 2 (c) of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution that the number of voters within each constituency in a state ought to be ‘approximately equal’?

“For the same reason, we also object to the creation and formation of N26 Gedong in P200 Batang Sadong in the manner as suggested in EC’s recommendations. Gedong is only proposed to have 6,430 voters, which is 47 per cent of the average size of a state constituency in Sarawak.

“P200 Batang Sadong is then proposed to have a total voter size of 20,977, which is well below the average size of a parliamentary constituency (35,779), and it is not rural when compared to areas like Ulu Baram or Hulu Rejang, which have 31,476 and 23,637 voters respectively.”

The objectors also recommended that all polling districts in N27 Sebuyau be absorbed by Batang Sadong to form a bigger parliamentary area. Batang Sadong will then have 29,781 voters.

They also objected to the shifting of polling districts of Rangkang (365 voters), Putin (180 voters), Rangawan (345 voters), Terasi (303 voters), Senangeh (169 voters), Sungai Buloh (218 voters) and Ensengei (249 voters) from Sadong Jaya to Simunjan on the basis that the EC had breached Clause 2(d) of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution on maintaining local ties.

“The areas are all under the jurisdiction of different local councils, and this will deny effective representation of the local community there as the wakil rakyats will need to liaise with different authorities for different areas.”

A group from Simunjan also proposed that Kedumpai polling district, which is within Samarahan Division but placed in P202 Sri Aman, be absorbed into P200 Batang Sadong.

Meanwhile, the 1,411 voters in Keniong polling district that were proposed to be absorbed into Gedong were strongly against being shifted from N25 Simunjan.

They were puzzled about the proposed shifting because they were closer to Simunjan in terms of distance.

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