Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do you buy this crap?

A “stretched” Election Commission (EC) which announced it was making “administrative preparations” for the re-delineation exercise now, says it cannot manage “two to three things at one time” and as such, nothing will happen before the 13th general election.

Quashing hopes of a nationwide re-delineation exercise of parliamentary and state constituencies before the 13th general election, EC secretary Kamaruddin Ahmad Baria said any such exercise will only take place after the next general election.

“We cannot do two or three things at one time, so we will wait till the (13th) general election is over,” he told FMT, alluding to the Parliamentary Select Committee’s (PSC) 10 recommendations for electoral reforms which, among others, included the introduction of indelible ink, a cleanup of the electoral list and the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate illegal immigrants who were granted citizenships and are now voters.

There have been numerous calls from both sides of the politicial divide, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, for the creation of more parliamentary constituencies.

Both Sabah and Sarawak hold only 56 of the 222 seats in Parliament.

In Kuching yesterday, PSC chairman Maximus Ongkili said they will look into appeals from Sabah and Sarawak to increase the parliamentary seats in both states in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Cobbold Commission Report.

Both states have asked for 34 percent of the total parliamentary seats.

Study to be done

The EC’s announcement yesterday that it had already made “administrative preparations” for the re-delineation exercise had generated curiosity over whether the process will be completed in time for the 13th general election.

But Kamaruddin’s comment – “we will wait untill the next general electio is over” – while putting paid to hopes of more contestable seats in the national polls, has however also left certain quarters in Sabah confused.

Sabah is reportedly having a re-delineation exercise taking place at the moment.

Last week, Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) ally United Pasokomogun KadazaDusun Murut Organisation (Upko) in a widely reported press conference told PSC that “in the current re-delineation exercise, Sabah must be given an additional 10 parliamentary seats and Sarawak 27.”

Meanwhile, Kamaruddin declined to elaborate on what the EC’s “administrative preparations” were in relation to the re-delineation exercises.

He also declined to comment on whether the redelineation will spawn an increase in the number of Members of Parliaments.

“I wouldn’t know. We will only decide after the study. We also cannot comment on it (definitively) now and then if it does not happen…,” he said.

Long process

Kamaruddin, however, said that a re-delineation exercise is a long process, adding that the exercise must be completed within two years in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

“We are given that amount of time because we want to do a proper job.

“We will then have more time to go through the re-delineation exercise. During that period, we have to finish reviewing, we have to exhibit the plan to the public for their approval,” he added.

When asked if the process could be completed within a period of months, he said that the EC did not have sufficient manpower to do so.

“You give me 1,000 staff, I can complete the exercise in four months,” he said, adding that the EC would not do a “quick-fix” and wanted to ensure that the process is done thoroughly.

He added that the EC will make a formal announcement as to when the exercise will commence.

In the past, there have been allegations of the EC manipulating the electoral delineation process to increase the number of seats held by a certain race.

[Source: FMT]

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