Electoral Commission has no power to increase state assembly seats – Rose

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Don’t confuse the redrawing of electoral boundaries with increasing state assembly seats.

While the Electoral Commission is the body tasked with the redrawing of election boundaries or “redelineation” for Sarawak, any change or increase in the number of state assembly members and hence the number of state constituencies is completely within the power and prerogative of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

In other words, the assembly will need to pass a state law to increase the number of its members. This was what happened just prior to the last redrawing exercise in Sarawak in 2015.

In other words, the Electoral Commission can only redraw or redelineate election boundaries but not add new constituencies in its proposal unless the Sarawak assembly has passed a law to increase the number of state seats.

Having said that, political parties or coalitions like Gabungan Parti Sarawak are of course free to give their proposals or recommendations to the commission on the constituencies that requires a redrawing of election boundaries (perhaps due to voter population increases over the years and development in particular, and the availability of administrative facilities for voting). These proposals would most likely include proposals on new constituencies.

In fact, when the Electoral Commission commences the review of boundaries pursuant to the Federal Constitution, Clause 5 of the 13th Schedule gives the right to the state government, local councils and groups of voters of 100 or more who are affected by the commission’s redrawing proposals to submit representations objecting to the proposed redrawing or alterations.

In conjunction with this important electoral milestone of redrawing due for Sarawak, Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (Rose) will be carrying out a campaign to inform and build awareness amongst the members of the public, particularly Sarawakian voters, on what redrawing is about and how affected voters can participate in this democratic process.

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Infographics and online content will be shared and roadshows are being planned. We encourage all to follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts. – Rose

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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