Sarawak electoral redelineation must look at geography and dispersal of natives, Election Commission told

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Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Sept 9 — The Election Commission (EC) should consider the lay of the land and the distribution of natives when redrawing the constituency lines in Sarawak in future, a state lawmaker said today.

Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman stressed that care must be taken not to redelineate the election boundaries based on the changing population size alone.

“The redelineation must be undertaken to carve out more seats in both Sarawak and Sabah as there are some constituencies that are under representation given their vast size,” he said.

He was responding to an assurance by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on reviewing the representation from Sarawak and Sabah in Dewan Rakyat.

The prime minister had said this was among the issues raised in a meeting of the Special Council on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement yesterday.

Bernama reported Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili as saying yesterday's meeting endorsed the return of 35 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

The endorsement would allocate 78 of the 222 seats to Sabah and Sarawak.

Fazzrudin said it is imperative to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as regional partners after the departure of Singapore in 1965 from Federation of Malaysia.

“Currently, peninsular Malaysia controls 75 per cent or 166 of the parliamentary seats out of 222, which is more than two-thirds.

“It is our view that this must change to respect the voice and views of Sarawak and Sabah and to avoid laws that are detrimental to the Borneo states from being passed,” he said.

“This is part of the nation’s electoral reform that must be undertaken and for Sarawak, this was something that we have proposed to the Electoral Reform Committee a few years ago,” he added.

He also said the Federal Constitution must represent the interests of all parties in the federation and any amendments that are being passed in Parliament must get the support of both Sarawak and Sabah.

“At the same time, I urge the EC to understand the need for the original proportion of parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak to be restored and take further action under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

He said he welcomed the new development in regards to the pursuit of having one-third representation from Sarawak and Sabah in the federal Parliament, as part of the fulfilment of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“This, to me, is important in terms of power sharing between the parties that form the Malaysia federation where Sarawak and Sabah must have a say in the laws that are being passed in Parliament,” he said.