Phase 2 of the 52% strike back : Dear EC

Posted on December 9, 2014

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many-colours-one-dreamB034f_malIn Phase 1, many of you and I wrote our MPs to say we wanted them to vote against a parliamentary seat increase.

I had promised you that I would then send a memo to the Pakatan leadership to say the same.

I was planning to do that today, but as things would have it, I attended a meeting yesterday where PAS deputy president, Mat Sabu and PKR sec-gen Rafizi Ramli were in attendance.

So I have delivered the memo to them yesterday and, hopefully, either today or tomorrow, will arrange for the same to be delivered at the DAP HQ.

Until that is done, I think courtesy requires me to refrain from disclosing the contents of the memo.

So let me tell you about Phase Two of this “52% Strike Back” effort.

Yesterday, round about noon, I delivered a letter to the Election Commission.

It requests for information in relation to their proposed redelineation.

I have given them 7 days to revert back to me, failing which I will leave the matter with my solicitors for further action.

Let me explain.

Under the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, the EC, in undertaking a redelineation, must apply several principles.

For our present purpose, the important guiding principle is that ” the number of electors within each constituency in a State ought to be approximately equal except that, having regard to the greater difficulty of reaching electors in the country districts and the other disadvantages facing rural constituencies, a measure of weightage for area ought to be given to such constituencies”.

They don’t have to be absolutely equal, but approximately, unless other factors narrated in the Constitution necessitate a departure from this “approximately equal”.

Let’s look at the parliamentary constituencies in Selangor.

I vote in PJ Selatan.

At the last GE, the number of registered voters in Pj Selatan was 79,558

Let’s look at the registered voters in the other parliamentary constituencies in Selangor

Sabak Bernam : 37,318

Tanjong Karang : 42,333

Gombak : 123,290

Hulu Langat : 127,347

Kelana Jaya : 101,236

Subang : 128, 543

Klang :  97,073

Sepang : 84,362

Sungai Besar : 42,837

Kuala Selangor : 62,298

Ampang : 83,135

Serdang : 133,139

Shah Alam : 99,957

Kota Raja : 105,909

Hulu Selangor : 85,697

Selayang : 105,895

Pandan : 83,857

Puchong : 107,010

PJ Utara : 85,401

Kapar : 144,159

Kuala Langat : 88,474

The ones marked in blue are seats won by BN.

If you vote in some other state and want to make a comparison of your parliamentary constituency with the others in your state, you can go HERE to get those details.

Wong Piang Yow of Tindak Malaysia informs me that if you take the total number of registered voters in Selangor and you were to equalise the number of voters in each of the 22 parliamentary constituencies, it should work out to about 93,000 per constituency.

Let’s take that as the ideal  starting point.

Now as one of the 52% who voted to get rid of BN in the last GE and who still wants to see those robbers and thieves removed from Putrajaya, what should I look for in the imminent redelineation exercise?

I will want to ensure that no boundaries are re-drawn with a view to give an advantage to BN.

Assuming EC has no plans to redraw any boundaries in Selangor, then I don’t have to be vigilant.

What if they are going to tinker with the boundaries in Selangor?

What should I look out for?

Let’s take Gombak, as an example.

123,290 voters in the last GE.

Look at neighbouring Wangsa Maju that had 67.775 voters in the last election.

Setiawangsa had 62,309 voters.

Both are not Selangor seats.

The two BN seats, combined, exceed Gombak by about 7,000.

Why are the number of voters in Gombak almost double the two neighbouring constituencies?

This probably happened in the last delineation exercise in the early 2000s, when we all did not know of our rights.

I speculate, but I would not be surprised that when the last delineation was done, boundaries were drawn to ‘dump’ pockets of known opposition supporters in the 2 BN seats into Gombak.

And this, amongst other things, is what we should be looking out for in this coming redelineation.

As for me, if there is a move to redraw the boundaries of Tanjong Karang and Sungai Besar, it would occasion an opportunity to question why there is a great disparity in voter numbers in those 2 constituencies with that of PJ Selatan.

How can I do that?

Under the constitution, once EC has caused to be gazetted the notification of the redelineation exercise, voters have a right to raise an objection within 30 days.

For a valid objection, there has to be 100 objectors per constituency.

The problem is that for there to be a rational objection, founded on facts, those 100 objectors would need information of the overall intended redelineation in the state, and not just of their own constituency.

The fear is that the EC will not make this readily available.

I would be expected to run to all the constituencies in the state to view the maps of the proposed new boundaries, in time to make any rational, informed, objection within the 30-day period.

This would make my right of objection somewhat illusory.

I am of the view that as the EC is meant to serve the rights and interests of the rakyat, not UMNO and BN, I am entitled to all relevant information in good time to allow me to exercise my right of objection.

My lawyers think so too.

Hence my letter to the EC.

A copy of the same, in pdf, is linked below.

Letter to EC pg 1Letter to EC Pg 2Letter to EC Pg 3

If I don’t hear from them in seven days, I will leave it to the team of lawyers to take it from there.