Hashim Abdullah, Electoral Commission should halt unconstitutional redelineation proposal

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The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) refers to the to the news report by Bernama on 7 July 2017 entitled “SPR Terus Siasat Persempadanan Semula Selangor”, which was later corrected to “SPR Teruskan Siasatan Persempadanan Semula Semenanjung Kecuali Selangor, Melaka”.

In the report, Electoral Commission chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah was also quoted as saying that the Kuala Lumpur High Court disallowed the Selangor government’s application for an injunction against the commission from carrying out the second round of local inquiries except Selangor and Malacca.

The article has created confusion and Bersih 2.0 wishes to clarify that:

  • · there is an existing stay order against the first local inquiry for the state of Selangor, granted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in December 2016. This means that the redelineation process in Selangor is halted until the proceedings of the Selangor judicial review is completed.
  • the injunction granted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 5 July 2017 was a further restraint on the commission, in reaction to their unprecedented decision to continue publishing the second redelineation notice excluding Selangor. The injunction disallows the commission from completing the redelineation process without Selangor. However, the learned judge explicitly stressed that he is not making any ruling on the constitutionality of the exclusion of Selangor in the second notice, as the applicants were satisfied with the injunction.
  • in addition to Selangor, there is another stay order granted by the Malacca High Court in May 2017 against the second local inquiry for the state of Malacca. Similarly, this means that the commission cannot complete the redelineation until the Malacca judicial review is completed.

In the first place, the fact the Electoral Commission decided to publish the second notice with the exclusion of Selangor is highly alarming because it disregards the stay order in the Selangor case. It shows that the commission is adamant in pushing through the redelineation despite constitutional issues being raised in the case.

Bersih 2.0 and Malaysians have no choice but to respond by taking more court action against the commission. In addition to the Selangor and Malacca cases, there are currently five more pending cases relating to redelineation – in Perak, Johor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Kelantan.

The Electoral Commission should not have continued with the second notice and inquiries because serious constitutional issues have been raised and should have instead waited for the resolution of these cases before proceeding.

Bersih 2.0 reiterates that we are not against the redelineation process. However, it must be done fairly and correctly in accordance with the principles of law and the Federal Constitution.

In contrast, the commission has severely broken these principles and is taking unprecedented action to circumvent due process. The commission has not used the current redelineation process to correct malapportionment and gerrymandering, but instead has taken steps to worsen it.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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