KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The Selangor government will challenge in court if the Election Commission (EC) insists on leaving out the state in its redelineation exercise for peninsular Malaysia, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said today.
Azmin said he was informed of the EC’s new notice in newspapers yesterday and described its plans to exclude Selangor as unlawful.
“In fact I was told they have decided to exclude Selangor in that entire exercise and that is against the law. And we will appeal, we will object if they continue to submit the review without Selangor,” he told reporters at the court complex here.
“Certainly,” he replied when asked if the Selangor government may file a legal challenge over the EC’s bid to sidestep Selangor in order to go through with the redelineation exercise.
“If that is true, then we will challenge that decision because as far as we are concerned, the laws doesn’t allow the review to be done or to be submitted to the prime minister without having the entire unit of peninsular Malaysia,” he said.
Under Article 113(6) the Federal Constitution, the EC is to hold redelineation exercises for Sabah, Sarawak and the “States of Malaya” separately by treating them as three separate units, with the “States of Malaya” term to include the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.
Yesterday, a federal government gazette was published in mainstream news outlets announcing the second public display of the electoral boundary redrawing exercise for peninsular Malaysia, but with the omission of Selangor this time.
Last December 16, the High Court ordered a stay of all local enquiries by the EC in Selangor’s federal and state seats until the end of a Selangor government lawsuit against the EC’s proposed redelineation exercise.
The stay order effectively slows down the EC’s redelineation plans for Selangor, as the completion of local enquiries is a necessary part of the process before the proposed redelineation can be approved.
The stay order is still in place, as the Selangor government’s lawsuit — against the redelineation exercise which the EC initiated in September 2016 — is still ongoing.
The Federal Constitution’s Article 113(1)(iii) states that proposed redelineation exercises shall be completed within two years from the date of commencement of such exercises.
The 14th general election must be held by next August but the federal government can call for earlier polls.
Under the Federal Constitution’s Thirteenth Schedule on the procedure for redelineation exercises, the EC has to publish their proposal in a government gazette and at least one newspaper, as well as put it on public display; before then holding local enquiries to hear objections from affected state governments, local authorities or from groups of at least 100 affected voters.
The EC would then have to repeat the process if it revises its proposals, before submitting a report on the proposed redelineation to the prime minister who will then present it in Parliament for approval.
In the federal government gazette dated yesterday, the EC gave notice that it had reviewed the seat divisions in Peninsular Malaysia except for Selangor after completing the first local enquiry from October 31, 2016 to February 28, 2017.
The gazette said the EC’s proposed redelineation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia except for Selangor to be included in the report are: no changes in the number of federal and state seats in Peninsular Malaysia, changes in the names of seven federal seats and 20 state seats.
The proposed changes in names are to federal seats in Kedah (1), Negri Sembilan (1), Malacca (1), Perak (2) and Johor (2), while the state seats with proposed name changes are in Kedah (1), Kelantan (1), Terengganu (1), Negri Sembilan (2), Perak (2), Malacca (5) and Johor (8).
The gazette said the proposed changes will be on public display from March 8 until and on April 7, with state governments, local authorities, groups of at least 100 voters to submit written representations to the EC within a month if they have objections.
The previous gazette last September of the EC’s proposed redelineation exercise had included the proposed redrawing of 18 federal seats’ boundaries in Selangor, and the proposed renaming of five federal seats and six state seats in Selangor.
Selangor has contended in court that the exercise is unconstitutional and invalid, due to various reasons such as the use of an outdated and defective electoral roll for Selangor which had included 136,272 registered voters without their corresponding residential address.