EC chief open to shifting redelineation powers to new agency if move is beneficial

Jerry Choong
Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun demonstrates a polling centre simulation to a parliamentary special select committee delegation in Putrajaya January 22, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 22 — Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he would support letting another agency handle the redrawing of electoral boundaries if this enhances the process.

Referring to the Electoral Reform Committee’s (ERC) proposal last year for a special commission to carry out such exercises, he said he must study the suggestion before committing his support.

“If it is proposed that a separate agency be set up specifically to handle redelineation and can improve it, then I am all for it.

“I am all for anything that could make it better,” Azhar said following a courtesy visit by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee to the EC’s headquarters.

However, he said calls to amend the constitutional articles related to redelineation were premature as the EC was still studying the effects of the last exercise from March 2018.

“There are both positive and negative points, and likely ways to improve such exercises.

“As it stands, the need to see if any previously repealed amendments pertaining to redelineation may also arise. However, given the importance and sensitivity of such matters, it is better discussed later on,” he said.

Under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the EC may only conduct a redelineation exercise once every eight years, or if the number of parliamentary seats has changed under Article 46.

Last Monday, the ERC submitted its interim report to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, informing him of the latest developments in its recommendations to improve the electoral system and its related laws.

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