Posts Tagged ‘Gerrymandering

30
Apr
18

Has the election already been stolen?

Has the election already been stolen?

COMMENT | Elections in countries all over the world that adhere to democratic norms are generally decided by the three “Ms” of money, media and party machinery.

There is also a fourth “M” factor at work – electoral gerrymandering and voter malapportionment.

However, genuine and aspiring democratic countries do attempt to minimise partisan geographical bias and intentional gerrymandering, such as that based on race, so as to ensure that elections are not only free and fair but also result in a legitimate mandate to govern for the winning party or parties.

For the coming 14th general election in Malaysia, we have seen concerned citizens and the opposition respond with outrage to the massive gerrymandering and malapportionment as well as the huge cash and other financial and material benefits promised by the BN government in its effort to buy the support of key voting groups.

We have also seen a string of respected international media columnists write disapprovingly of the unprecedented efforts made by caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to win the election by what they mainly regard as foul means.

On March 8 and 10, well before the new avalanche of cash benefits especially targeting rural Malays was unveiled in the BN election manifesto, The Economist – perhaps the most respected financial weekly in the English language and enjoying an international readership among discerning readers for its in-depth analysis of the world economy and current developments – published two articles focusing on the Malaysian election.

The titles of the two articles are self-explanatory: “Tilting the Playing Field” and “Stop Thief!” The articles explain that in Malaysia “the electoral boundaries are not the only way in which the system is stacked against the opposition.”

“The media are supine. The police and the courts seem more interested in allegations of minor offences […] than they are in the blatant bilking of the taxpayer over 1MDB and the open violation of the constitution at the election commission.”

The second article concludes: “Mr Najib may be venal, but he is not stupid. He fears that most voters would not return him to office if given a choice, so he is taking their choice away.”

Defending Najib and BN

In response, Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, the Malaysian high commissioner to the UK, wrote that the articles “reeked of an arrogant colonial mindset, disparaging our prime minister, government, police, judiciary, election commission, media and even our voters.”

He noted that the articles were “based on falsehoods pushed by the opposition alleging gerrymandering in the electoral boundary redrawing exercises.”

Arguing that the redelineation process was grounded in democratic principles as practised in the West, he alleged that The Economist showed double standards by misreporting the Malaysian exercise.

“In Malaysia, these changes were proposed and implemented by the independent Election Commission and subsequently approved by the judiciary, whose impartiality is evidenced by the fact that it frequently rules against the government and senior ministers.”

Ahmad may be correct that The Economist harbours an arrogant colonial mindset in dealing with Malaysia. However, if he had used the opportunity to research the subject of electoral gerrymandering and the way past elections in the country have been conducted, he would not have written a defence of BN’s record in “scrupulously” adhering to democratic principles in elections.

The fact of the matter is that anyone in the world wanting to understand the extraordinary longevity of BN rule does not have to look hard for evidence of how the Alliance and then the BN parties manipulated the electoral playing field by numerous underhand and unethical practices.

Ahmad himself would be spoilt for choice in selecting from the many researchers who have analysed Malaysian politics and concluded that one of the key factors in the government’s political dominance is its control of the “independent” Electoral Commission and the electoral system and processes.

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Has the election already been stolen?
15 April 2018 – malaysiakini

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18
Jan
18

Selangor voters cite massive size discrepancies in objections to EC’s redelineation

Selangor voters cite massive size discrepancies in objections to EC’s redelineation

SHAH ALAM, Jan 3 — The Election Commission’s proposed redrawing of electoral boundaries would create seats with massive voters populations, said voters objecting to the exercise in Selangor today.

During today’s hearing, Yvette Mah Looi Yin who represented 172 voters cited concerns with the proposed Damansara (P106) seat that would replace their Petaling Jaya Utara constituency.

She said Damansara would have at least 150,000 voters or about four times the size of Sabak Bernam, the smallest seat in Selangor.

“One the existing problem was the term ‘approximately equal,’ which was not clearly defined with a formula,” she said at the objection hearing held at Concorde Hotel, Shah Alam today.

Mah said that if the redelineation is done in its current form, the member of the Parliament for the area would have constituents served by three different local authorities.

DAP’s Tony Pua is the current MP for Petaling Jaya Utara.

She said it would not be possible for a single lawmaker spread so thinly to be able serve voters effectively.

“It is unfair to voters as they would be under-served by our MP because of multiple new urban and rural districts.

“We want the EC to listen to our voice and to give effect to the spirit of the Constitution that all should be equal,” she said.

Chua Piak Chwee, who represented at least 110 voters, said the size variations were illogical given the Federal Constitution stated that constituencies should be approximately the same sizes. However, this is no longer a requirement.

Chua said the EC’s proposed redelineation would dilute the rights of voters in her area, noting that the Damansara would cover 60 per cent of the state and would have 10 times the voters in Putrajaya.

“Our constituency will become the biggest in Selangor and possibly the largest in the country,” he said, when noting that the exercise would cause the seat to go from 85,000 voters to 150,000.

The proposed redelineation exercise would see parts of constituencies such as Selayang, Bukit Lanjan, Kepong and Sungai Buloh absorbed into the new parliamentary seat.

Chua said redelineations should aim to improve service to voters rather than to worsen this.

“By pulling various voting districts into the new constituency, the needs of the people would differ, so how can one MP serve such a large area?” he said.

The EC resumed hearing of objections in Selangor after the Court of Appeal allowed it to continue the process that had been halted by a legal challenge from the state government.

The EC started its redelineation process in September 2016, with the constitutional timeframe of two years meaning that it has to complete the process in September 2018.

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Selangor voters cite massive size discrepancies in objections to EC’s redelineation
January 3, 2018 – MMO

17
Jan
18

New military camp in Sembrong to save BN, says Johor Pakatan

New military camp in Sembrong to save BN, says Johor Pakatan

JOHOR Pakatan Harapan has claimed that Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is misusing his office to transfer military voters to his Sembrong parliamentary constituency.

It said this was being done by building the new Paloh military camp, which, once ready, would house eight squadrons from the Royal Army Engineers Regiment and the 33rd Royal Artillery Regiment, to be moved from Mahkota Camp in Kluang.

The state PH alleged that the transfer of voters was to help Barisan Nasional retain the Paloh state seat, which was won with a slim majority of 103 votes in the 2013 general election.

It called on Hishammuddin to address the matter.

“He must come forward to explain, especially about the planned Paloh camp, which is located in his parliamentary constituency,” it said in a statement today.

The statement was jointly issued by state PH chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, state Bersatu chairman Shahruddin Md Salleh, state Amanah chairman Aminolhuda Hassan, state PKR chairman Hassan Karim and state DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong.

The opposition pact also disputed the government’s assertion that the Paloh camp was being built to defend the country.

“The distance between Mahkota Camp and the planned Paloh camp is less than 10km, while (the distance between) Batu 3 Camp and the Paloh camp is only around 5km.

“So, the argument that the camp is being built for security reasons is questionable.”

On December 21, Liew had said the Paloh camp was expected to add 10% more voters in Sembrong.

In October, DAP had found that there were 1,051 voters registered at a yet-to-be-completed military camp in Segamat, Johor, and 28 others at Regiment 501 Territorial Army Camp Segamat.

On November 7, Mengkibol assemblyman Tan Hong Pin had said more than 1,000 objections had been filed with the Johor Election Commission to stop military personnel from being registered as voters in Segamat. – January 1, 2018.

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New military camp in Sembrong to save BN, says Johor Pakatan
1 Jan 2018 – TMI

15
Jan
18

New electoral boundaries will not save BN

New electoral boundaries will not save Barisan Nasional, says Muhyiddin

THE proposed new electoral boundaries for parliamentary and state seats will not save Barisan Nasional in the next general election, said Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin said the ruling coalition was in panic mode as it knew that it had lost the support of most of the voters and that it would lose if the polls were to be held tomorrow.

“We can imagine all the dirty tactics that will be used in the next general election,” Muhyiddin said in his policy speech at Bersatu’s inaugural annual general meeting today.

“Even now they are trying to pass the one-sided redelineation of election boundaries,” Muhyiddin said.

“But we are confident that if the majority of the people reject Barisan Nasional, the new electoral boundaries will not save them,” he said in Shah Alam.

On Wednesday, the Election Commission resumed its redrawing of election boundaries in Selangor by conducting the first public hearing for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat.

Pakatan Harapan and electoral reform groups have claimed that the proposed redelineation for parliamentary and state seats are unfair and will create ethnically homogenous constituencies.

Muhyiddin also urged the EC to be fair and transparent, calling for the government to allow international observers from United Nations and Commonwealth Secretariat to monitor the next general election.

“They will do anything to remain in power, they are afraid to lose because all the misappropriations will be exposed and many of them will be brought to justice.

“They want to win not to save the country, but to save themselves,” Muhyiddin said, adding that postal voting would also be used by the government to cheat in the next GE.

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New electoral boundaries will not save Barisan Nasional, says Muhyiddin
30 Dec 2017 – TMI

14
Jan
18

Why is state seat bigger than parliamentary seats, voter asks EC

Why is state seat bigger than parliamentary seats, voter asks EC

A Subang Jaya voter has taken the Election Commission to task for enlarging the state constituency, even though it already has more voters than other parliamentary constituencies in Selangor.

Long-time Subang Jaya resident Theresa Ratnam said this was the complaint she raised when she attended the EC’s local inquiry today, to object the commission’s proposal on the Kelana Jaya parliamentary constituency, and the Subang Jaya state constituency within it.

Currently, Subang Jaya has 62,687 voters, while Kelana Jaya has 101,603 voters.

After redelineation, Subang Jaya would have 66,059 voters, while Kelana Jaya would be renamed “Subang” and would have 128,330 voters. The existing Subang parliamentary constituency will be named “Sungai Buloh.”

“By virtue of it being enlarged, then you are looking at the administration, the enforcement, the social issues. How can one assemblyperson or one parliamentarian oversee the whole administration?

“By virtue of that, we have submitted that EC must review their recommendation, and instead of enlarging (the constituency), see if we can have smaller constituencies,” Theresa told reporters after attending the local inquiry.

“Because N31 (Subang Jaya) is going to be bigger than P092 (Sabak Bernam) and P093 (Sungai Besar).

“They are going to be smaller than state assembly seats. How can that be? There is no justification,” she added.

The Sabak Bernam and Sungai Besar parliamentary constituencies would only have 37,126 voters and 42,833 voters, respectively, after redelineation.

The management consultant, who has lived in Subang Jaya since 1989, said she urged the EC to review their proposal and justify their intentions.

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Why is state seat bigger than parliamentary seats, voter asks EC
27 Dec 2017 – malaysiakini

09
Jan
18

BN will bulldoze redelineation and hold GE14, says Pakatan

BN will bulldoze redelineation and hold GE14, says Pakatan

THE government is likely to hold a special parliamentary session next month to pass the Election Commission’s redelineation proposal ahead of the 14th general election (GE14), said Pakatan Harapan vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.

“We believe Barisan Nasional will dissolve Parliament and state assemblies after passing the EC’s proposal,” said the Amanah deputy president.

Although widely touted as unfair, EC’s redelineation does not spell the end of PH’s challenge, he said at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.

“The proposal can cut both ways. And all we need is a 10%-20% swing from the Malay or Umno hardcore supporters.”

The EC proposal has been criticised for creating super majority seats in opposition-held seats. The proposal also creates more Malay-majority seats and fewer mixed seats by moving voters around.

At the last general election, BN won 77 Malay-majority seats while Pakatan Rakyat won 37. In the battle for mixed seats, BN won eight while PR took 21.

“But we have no choice but to be prepared for this new proposal,” said Salahuddin when asked if PH was ready for the new federal and state constituencies.

The new electoral boundaries were already known and PH is prepared to face them, he said.

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BN will bulldoze redelineation and hold GE14, says Pakatan
20 Dec 2017 – TMI

29
May
17

The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost

The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost – Zoe Randhawa

MAY 27 – Earlier this month, in historic legal victories, Bersih 2.0 Outreach Officer Chan Tsu Chong along with six others were granted leave and a stay order to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) delineation proposals in Melaka.

This means the process of re-drawing the election boundaries for Melaka has been suspended until the court case is completed.

This builds upon the work already done in Selangor to challenge the new proposals.

The importance of these legal challenges for the fate of the 14th general election (GE14) can’t be overstated.

The EC’s motivations for the new boundaries are obvious. The new boundaries are there to shift the balance of seats to secure a strong Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the next election.

The political motivations behind the EC’s boundaries

According to research by Politweet, BN can win an additional 11 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly with the new boundaries proposed in September 2016. These 11 seats would be won with no changes in votes from GE13 but only through the shifting of voters to strategic seats for BN.

Similarly, in the September 2016 proposals for Melaka, the seat of Bukit Baru, won by Pakatan Rakyat by 48 votes in GE13, would be won by BN with a 1,600-vote majority with the new boundaries. The marginal seat of Telok Mas, won by BN by just 700 votes in GE13, would become a safe seat with a 3,000-vote majority.

Worse still, based on the September 2016 proposal, the Bukit Katil federal seat, won by Pakatan Rakyat in GE13 by nearly 7,000 votes, would now be won by BN with a 4,800 vote majority. This move is especially suspicious, given that in August 2016, one month before the proposal became public, the Melaka Chief Minister called for the EC to change Bukit Katil boundaries to make it easier for BN to win.

The same pattern emerges throughout the country. In Perak, the safe Pakatan Rakyat seats in GE13 of Changkat Jering and Sungai Rapat would be won by BN, with no change in votes. In Kuala Lumpur, Nurul Izzah Anwar would lose the seat of Lembah Pantai.

The legal challenges

For the first time in our history, the EC is being dragged to court over and over again to stop their flagrant cheating through delineation. The rakyat have shown their outrage, with more than 1,000 objections submitted to the EC between September 2016 and April 2017 over their proposals.

The EC has been inundated with legal cases on delineation. So far, 11 cases have been filed in courts across the country, challenging the lack of information provided (yes, the EC doesn’t even want to tell voters how they are affected!), the unconstitutional proposals and the EC’s refusal to hold local inquiries when legally required to do so.

So far, there have been some brave High Court judges willing to take a stand.

Judges Azizul Azmi Adnan and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera for the Selangor and Melaka cases, respectively, have both granted leave to hear the arguments of the case and have put a stay on further action by the EC to re-draw the boundaries in those two states.

The Selangor State Government’s challenge is now being heard in court and we have already heard some startling revelations from the EC, including that the information related to 136,000 addresses on the electoral roll has been destroyed.

I think it is fair to say we can expect more such ludicrous explanations from the EC as the cases progress.

What does this mean for GE14?

Even though the Federal Constitution allows the EC up to two years to complete the delineation exercise, the EC now seems to be desperate to finish the process as soon as possible. We can only wonder why this would be the case.

If the EC cared to follow the Constitution, once the court granted a stay for Selangor, this should have halted the process for the whole of the peninsula. This is because the Constitution says peninsular Malaysia must be treated as a whole unit when drawing constituencies.

However, the EC has decided to continue the delineation process “excluding the state of Selangor”. It is clear the EC is trying to bulldoze their proposal through no matter what the courts say. It shows complete contempt for the rule of law and our Federal Constitution.

On a positive note, it looks like the boundaries to the federal and state seats in Selangor may have been saved from the changes that would have led to a rigged election in a state BN is desperate to win back.

For the rest of the country, we can only speculate what the EC’s plans are.

It is now possible the EC will take the unconstitutional step of presenting their final proposals to the Prime Minister without completing the process for Selangor and Melaka. The prime minister can then table the new boundaries in Parliament by the end of July and announce the dissolution of Parliament by August. The election can then be held as early as September.

The EC up to the same old tricks

We are fully aware of how the process would have been conducted if the EC were not merely a puppet for the ruling party.

The Constitution is clear. Seats in the same state must have “approximately equal” number of voters and the EC must try to follow local ties in drawing the boundaries.

If the EC were fair, we would not have a seat in Selangor with more than 150,000 voters (Petaling Jaya Utara) and another with just 37,000 voters (Sabak Bernam). We would not have boundaries that cut households or communities in half to suit certain voting patterns. Local councils would not be criss-crossed with constituency boundaries, resulting in councillors having to communicate with multiple MPs on local issues.

…more
The new election boundaries: Where GE14 will be won or lost – Zoe Randhawa
May 27, 2017 – MMO




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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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