Delineation-exercise report to be tabled in parliament Dec 2
Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org
KUCHING: Election Commission (EC) has submitted the final report on the Sarawak delineation exercise to Parliament.
Its chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, said the report would be tabled and debated in the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 2, the second last day of the current sitting.
“When the final report is passed, the next process is to inform the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for it to be gazetted. It will then be official — meaning the number of Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) seats will be increased from (the current) 71 to 82. The whole process will take about a month,” he told reporters here yesterday after delivering a keynote address at the EC briefing and training session for returning officers and assistant returning officers who would be involved in the coming 11th state election.
Abdul Aziz said he hoped the delineation exercise conducted in Sarawak would serve as an example to Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia to ensure that all actions follow proper procedures.
Despite not knowing when the 11th State Election would be held, he said based on common practices in the country, polls would be held earlier than the expiry date of the current term of the DUN (June 19, 2016).
“The latest date to dissolve the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly will be on June 19, 2016, which is five years after the first meeting after the 10th State Election in 2011. If the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri does not dissolve DUN by then (June 19), then it will automatically be dissolved.
“I say this because the latest for EC to hold the Sarawak state election will be on August 19 next year. However, in our country, elections are normally held earlier. That is why we (EC) do not want to be caught by surprise.”
He said the most important aspect of its preparations was manpower, adding that in any election, whether it is a general election or by-election, the EC does not have sufficient manpower to conduct the election.
Hence, the EC would have to depend on assistance from government departments such as district offices, education department or local councils.
“These people are not EC’s permanent staff; therefore, we have to conduct training sessions for them so that those who take charge really understand their roles. They must be trained on their duties under the laws and the implications.”
Abdul Aziz said during an election, returning officers are the most important persons, adding that they would be authorised to choose their own personnel and officers to assist them.
“The returning officers can be called up to become witnesses in case an election petition is filed.”
After briefing and training the returning officers and assistant returning officers, he said similar briefing and training would be provided to the election campaign enforcement chiefs and other groups that would be assisting the EC during the election.
Abdul Aziz said besides amendment to its regulations on the number of envelopes to be used, nature of its chop on the ballot paper and serial-numbered mouse tail to be used on polling day, there would be no new laws or regulations to be observed for the first time in the next state election.