Thursday, July 9, 2015

S'wak re-delineation causes movement of voters

5:28PM Jul 9, 2015
By Hafiz Yatim
The Sarawak re-delineation exercise to add 11 seats has caused problems due to shifting of state seats into different parliamentary constituencies and movement of voters without their knowledge, said lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Ambiga (photo) told the Court of Appeal's three-member bench that the Election Commission has failed in its duties to provide clear notification, as required under Section 4 of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

Using the state seat of Batu Lintang held by PKR's See Chee How under the Stampin parliamentary constituency as an example, she said part of that constituency would now move to a new constituency of Batu Kitang.

“In addition, now Batu Lintang enters under the Bandar Kuching parliamentary constituency. It is insufficient just to give the notice of the re-delineation without having a proper public consultation.

“The EC claims there is no change in parliamentary seats but from what I have illustrated there is a change for the Batu Lintang constituents, and this has resulted in the movement of thousands of voters,” she warned.

Ambiga, who is the former Bersih 2.0 chairperson, was submitting in the EC's appeal over the Kuching High Court decision, that declared the re-delineation done by the body to be null and void.

Ordered EC to republish notice

Justice Yew Jen Kie, in her landmark decision ruled the re-delineation notice lacked in detailed particulars of the areas specified in paragraph two of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

Following this, the judge ordered the EC to republish the notice of its proposed recommendations to review the division of the Sarawak state constituencies for the purpose of elections for the state legislative assembly.

Ambiga along with senior counsel Cyrus Das, was representing See and Pauls Baya, who are respondents in the case. Baya is from Baram state constituency.

EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (photo) is the appellant in the matter.

Sarawak wants an additional 11 seats from the 71 at present, to facilitate the state to hold the state elections scheduled before the middle of 2016.

The re-delineation exercise have to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in October for it to be passed, and hence, the appeal today.

[More to follow]
~ Malaysiakini

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