11 new seats to be ready for coming Sarawak polls, says EC chief
BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
Published: 16 November 2015 2:40 PM
The Election Commission says 11 new seats could be contested in Sarawak's state election next year. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 16, 2015.
The Election Commission is optimistic that its constituency redelineation report in Sarawak to recommend the creation of 11 new seats will safely navigate its last two hurdles – approval from Parliament and the Yang DiPertuan Agong – in its passage to being gazetted.
Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said if all legal requirements were completed before the end of January, the new seats would be contested in the Sarawak's 11th state election next year.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has hinted that the polls will be "early next year" with political pundits pointing to March or April.
Abdul Aziz in Kuching today said the redelineation report and recommendations would be tabled for debate in Parliament on December 2, the second last day of the current sitting.
He said if the report – which only needs a simple majority in the 222-seat Parliament – was passed, it could take another month for the Agong to sign it and have it gazetted.
Sarawak PKR vice-president See Chee How and a voter from Baram, Pauls Baya, had challenged the legality of the exercise.
See and Baya argued that the EC had failed to provide full details of the exercise.
The Kuching High Court on May 15 ruled in favour of the two and ordered the EC to republish its redelineation notice on grounds that it lacked details.
The EC however appealed the decision and on August 7, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court ruling.
See and Baya then appealed to the Federal Court which on October 15 dismissed the appeal on grounds that the court could not interfere with parliamentary proceedings.
This was after it was told by the EC's counsel, senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh, that the commission had already handed over its report and recommendation on the exercise to the prime minister.
Singh said as a result of the submission, the court no longer had jurisdiction to determine the case.
Abdul Aziz said some 15,000 election workers would be deployed to oversee the polling in the 82 constituencies.
Based on the electoral roll as at end-June, he said 1.1 million people would be eligible to vote and the election could cost RM180 million.
The cost would cover the charter of a fleet of helicopters, 4x4 wheeled drive vehicles and boats to transport election workers and ballot boxes to remote polling stations. – November 16, 2015.
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