Clearing up the Redelineation Issue
Good morning. This posting is to answer a few common questions asked by my constituents on the issue of redelineation.
Firstly, thank you to all who sent personal messages to me, offering to be objectors to the redrawing.
Second, what the EC is proposing is not subject to Parliament approval. As long as the EC do not create any new seats, the EC can bypass a Parliament vote.
Third, the State governments has no powers to draw boundaries.
Fourth, what options are there?
A. Objections at the local level MAY have results but politically speaking, don’t hold your breath and its equivalent to expecting a miracle. Nevertheless, we must object.
So how do we go about it? It is obvious that objecting one area or locality on a piecemeal basis will not work because even if successful, it just moves voters to another area which could potentially trigger another unfair scenario. So, in short we need a coordinated objection exercise. For the states of Penang and Selangor, the governments can undertake the coordination work which requires a lot of resources. For all other seats locality objections must continue.
B. The other option is to call for fresh state elections in Penang and Selangor before these new EC proposed boundaries set and become law. In other words, do a state election immediately to secure another 5 years mandate now based on existing boundaries.
This idea was mooted by Kit Siang but shot down by Azmin Ali yesterday. It is a repeat of same episode when Guan Eng wanted to do a Penang snap poll in July.
C. The last option is to mount a legal challenge and hold the EC accountable to the Constitution. This could result in a protracted litigation and the new boundaries may not be used for GE14. However the Malaysian courts have proven to be highly efficient in cases involving Anwar Ibrahim and Rafizi Ramli. So again, don’t expect a miracle from the courts.
Fifth and my final point is this; we are still crunching the numbers. The problem is to do with data on the ground as new voting localities have been created and can only be ascertained by walking the ground, so to speak. Basically, we need geographical imformation system data.
However broadly speaking, the redelineation is unfavourable to basic democracy and to the opposition. There is obvious and serious mal-apportionment of seat sizes and an attempt to create racial silos. So much so that even MCA and Gerakan are complaining.
The question that we are all trying to answer, from the insufficient data and no real geographical information, is how bad will it be? For that answer, we need feedback from ground, and to get that feedback, we need more time.
A basic principle in politics (and also life in general) is this; there are things within your control that you must take the lead to action. Then there are things outside our control that we can just react to.
Calling a snap state election is something we can lead to action. Changing the EC position is a situation where we are playing reactive catch up. We need wise leadership to understand this basic principle.