PUTRAJAYA – The Election Commission (EC) is to go ahead with the long overdue redelineation of electoral boundaries, having deferred the scheduled exercise in 2011 after the last one was done in 2003.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the EC was expected to gazette the notice for the redelineation exercise at the end of this year.
He said the redelineation of electoral boundaries was a responsibility of the EC under the Federal Constitution to ensure that voters were served easily by their elected representatives.
“A constituency with a large number of voters, more than 100,000, has to be divided into two, for example, so that there are reasonable numbers of voters in both,” he said.
For example, he said, in Kuala Lumpur, the size of the constituencies, such as Batu and Segambut, was small, but the number of voters was large.
Without a redelineation exercise, it would be difficult for the constituents to obtain good service from their elected representatives, he said.
Abdul Aziz also said that a redelineation exercise was not intended to determine the victory of any party in the elections. The principle behind the EC exercise was to facilitate the voter.
He said a redelineation exercise was undertaken at least once in eight years and that the last one was in 2003 while the next one should have been in 2011.
“Then, the EC had to prepare for the 13th general election, and the redelineation exercise was deferred.
The constituencies redelineated under the upcoming exercise would be used for the next general election, to be held in 2018 at the latest, he said.
Abdul Aziz said the period of more than eight years from 2003 would have resulted in more voters and much development, such as new government buildings which could be used as polling centres, and more new roads that would facilitate voters getting to polling centres faster and easily.
“Currently, there are parliamentary constituencies with two district offices and two local councils. This will make things difficult for the elected representative, besides posing a problem for coordination during the registration of voters and polling,” he said.
He also said that the EC would try to bring the polling centre as close to a voter as possible under the redelineation exercise.
It would also ensure that in every constituency there were administrative facilities such as a district office, local council, district council, municipal council or city hall.
“As far as possible, the number of voters should be about the same. However, the EC cannot do much to have a similar number of voters in an urban and rural constituency.
“The density of population in an urban constituency is high; in a rural constituency, it is low,” he said.
Elaborating on the steps the EC would have to take in relation to a redelineation exercise, Abdul Aziz said that prior to gazetting the notice, the EC would have to inform Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, as the head of government, as the regulation stipulated.
“After the announcement, the notice will be displayed for a month for proposals and objections from the state governments, local authorities and groups of registered voters of at least 100 people in the constituencies,” he told Bernama.
Abdul Aziz said the final report on the recommendations for redelineation of the electoral boundaries would have to be submitted to the prime minister within two years of the announcement of the notice, for tabling in the Dewan Rakyat to obtain approval, in accordance with section 8 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
The report approved by the Dewan Rakyat would be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for endorsement prior to gazetting and application, he said. – BERNAMA