Redrawing The Gerrymandered Electoral Boundaries
By Foo Wui Chyi Christoper (P.104 Subang Intern, 2019) Executive Summary:
In this paper, we look into the issue of gerrymandering in Malaysia, and how we can resolve the unequal distribution of voters across constituencies at both the federal and state level. Recognising the need to resolve this problem, we propose a few solutions. They are as follows:
Restructuring the Election Commission (EC) by: (a) establishing a standing committee in Parliament to scrutinise the Election Commission; (b) beginning a process whereby the chairman, deputy chairman and members of the Election Commission are appointed by Parliament after confirmation hearings; (c) enabling the standing committee to summon the Election Commission to testify whenever necessary on matters relating to its work; ensuring that reports on the work of the Election Commission is brought before Parliament for scrutiny; and (d) removing the Election Commission from the purview of the Prime Minister.
Equalising the number of voters in each constituency via another round of redelineation by ensuring a much smaller gap between the constituency with the most number of voters and constituency with the least number of voters; ensuring that the number of voters in each constituency is broadly equal; eliminating all mega constituencies; ensuring that the number of voters in each constituency vary by no more than 15%; and prioritising number of voters over land area of constituencies.
Eliminating racial factors when drawing constituency boundaries by stopping the conduct of racial redelineation by the Election Commission; and creating more “mixed seats” wherever possible.
Due to the prioritisation of number of voters over land area of constituencies, we recommend providing more funding for MPs of large-sized rural constituencies by passing a bill which grants all MPs of large-sized rural constituencies more funding; enabling those MPs to claim expenses for running service centres, employing staff, living costs and travels; establishing an independent body that regulates the claims and expenses of eligible MPs; and creating a committee in Parliament which will regulate the proposed independent body.