Deputy minister: EC to spend around RM5.2m on redelineation exercise

By Ida Lim
Today's ruling could effectively render academic the Selangor government's appeal to set aside a High Court's ruling that declared the delimitation exercise in the state valid and constitutional, according to one of its lawyers. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Election Commission (EC) will spend an estimated RM5.2 million for its ongoing redelineation exercise, Deputy Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim said today.

Razali also said the EC is obliged under the Federal Constitution to carry out the redelineation exercise, which includes the renaming of constituencies and redrawing of electoral boundaries.

"Last year RM3.9 (million), this year maybe around RM1.3 (million), meaning it's not huge. But that is our responsibility and we will do it," the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said in Parliament.

"The redelineation is actually required by the Constitution, actually now it is already late, we can't say we don't need to do because of the matter raised just now.

"But this must be in accordance with the Constitution's provisions, review has to be done within a certain period, therefore the EC has to carry out what is provided in the Constitution," he said, adding that the government will have to relook the matter depending on court decisions on the redelineation exercise.

Razali was responding to Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who proposed the federal government forego its redelineation exercise to save money, citing a cost of RM430 million for the exercise.

The EC had in July 2013 said that the RM400 million figure is the maximum budget approved by the federal government for the 13th general election and not its actual expenditure. The 14th general election must be held no later than next year.

Khalid also contended that the Federal Constitution merely enables redelineation exercises and does not make such exercises mandatory.

Under the Federal Constitution’s Article 113(2), the EC is to conduct a review of the boundaries of the federal and state seats and recommend changes that are necessary to comply with constitutional provisions, with intervals between such reviews to be at least eight years.

The EC last carried out redelineation exercises for Sarawak in 2015 and 2005, while it had last conducted redelineation for Sabah, Labuan and Peninsular Malaysia in 2003. The EC last year announced redelineation exercises for Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.