KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The proposed electoral redelineation that appears to allow the domination of a single race in certain seats violates the national integration policy and hurts unity, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said today.
The pro-moderation group said the redelineation exercise also contradicted the urban housing policy and told the Election Commission (EC) to ensure instead that all constituencies have a “good” ethnic composition, especially in the urban and semi-urban seats.
“Single ethnic seats encourage politicians vying for support in those areas to pander to narrow racial sentiments, at the expense of nation building.
“They are inclined to become a breeding ground for extremism, which goes against the nation’s founding principle,” Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu, who is also from MCA, said in a statement.
He told the EC to publicly explain its justifications behind the controversial redrawing of electoral boundaries that has sparked criticism from both the opposition and Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Chinese component parties, MCA and Gerakan.
“The EC should publicise information and be transparent about its methodology and formula in arriving at its redelineation proposals, be it due to ethnic composition constraints, population density and geographical considerations etc.
“Without such information, the EC’s proposals would come across as arbitrary, or worse, politically-motivated,” said Gan.
In a statement Monday, the EC denied claims that the redelineation exercise was meant to benefit certain parties.
Gan said the EC should have engaged political parties across the divide and the public.
“In the United Kingdom, where there is a now redrawing of parliamentary constituencies, the UK Boundary Commission is required by law to spend weeks in consultations with political parties and the public,” he said.
He also stressed that the EC must abide by the “one person one vote” principle and said a clear justification for the deviation between constituency sizes must be spelled out, even though high population density in an urban constituency has to be weighed against a smaller population in a geographically bigger rural seat.
“In this context, the obvious disparity of numbers of voters in an urban constituency like Damansara and other similar urban constituency in Klang Valley is an unacceptable case of irrational proposal,” said Gan.
According to DAP parliamentary Lim Kit Siang, there are several seats in Selangor with over 100,000 voters under the redelineation exercise, such as Damansara (150,439 voters) and Bangi (146,168 voters).