By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will apparently not get the 13 new State Legislative seats which Musa Aman the Chief Minister – had desperately pushed for some 20 months ago – and approved in the State Assembly in August 2016.
The 13 new Sabah seats was not touched on by Najib Razak, when the Prime Minister tabled the Election Commission’s redelineation report in Parliament Wednesday, in which 98 out of 165 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia will undergo changes of some sort.
Johor, Selangor and Perak are the most affected, with 19, 18 and 16 parliamentary seats respectively seeing changes of some kind, but there was nothing at all – ‘telur’ – on Sabah, despite the high anticipation by Sabah lawmakers on both sides of the divide.
The increase of the 13 additional Sabah State Assembly seats was approved by State Legislative Assembly by amending the Sabah Constitution from 60 State Seats to 73 State Seats on the 9th August 2016.
The additional seats were gazetted in a record time as State Law on 17th August 2016 (a mere eight days after the State Assembly passed the amendment to the Constitution).
Darell Leiking, the Parti Warisan Sabah’s Penampang lawmaker told BorneoToday on Monday he had mentioned in Parliament in a query to the Government if they agreed that holding the Sabah elections would be unconstitutional without the additional 13 seats.
Yong Teck Lee, the former Sabah chief Minister, in comments made in the media recently remarked that withholding the EC report on Sabah, “the PM is, in effect, usurping the authority of Parliament.”
According to a report in Star Online, the changes to the redelineation range from the minor, such as a name change involving one vowel, to major ones where the boundaries of the seat have been redrawn to double its original size.
Of the states listed in the report tabled on Wednesday, only seats in Perlis and Putrajaya will not see any changes of any sort.
According to analysts from electoral reform pressure groups, Selangor will see the most significant changes and this could result in very close fights in the state.
Selangor has five name changes involving parliamentary seats and nine state seats which will have their names changed.
The seats that will get new names are Bangi (P102), Subang (P104), Petaling Jaya (P105), Damansara (P106) and Sungai Buloh (P107).
These seats were previously known as Serdang, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Petaling Jaya Utara and Subang respectively.
While the Sungai Buloh seat will see a reduction of voters from 128,000 to 73,000, the other seats will see an increase.
The online report quoted activist Wong Chin Huat, who has a doctorate in electoral systems from the University of Essex, as saying that the average size of the parliamentary seats won by Barisan Nasional in the 2013 general election was about 48,000 voters while for the Opposition it was 79,000 voters.
The proposed Sungai Buloh (P107) seat meanwhile spans four local authorities: Selayang, Kuala Selangor, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.
In the Kota Melaka seat (P138), an additional 28,000 voters have been moved from the nearby Hang Tuah Jaya (P137) seat.
This seat, which was known as Bukit Katil in the last election, will see the number of voters reduced from 99,400 to 80,800.
According to Wong, if these new electoral boundary changes were used in the last election, Barisan Nasional would have won an additional eight parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
In the last election, Barisan won 85 seats to the Opposition’s 80 seats in Peninsular Malaysia. If the new boundaries drawn up had been used in 2013, Barisan would have won 93 seats while the Opposition would have won 72 seats.
The Star also quoted Tindak Malaysia mapping advisor Danesh Prakash Chacko, as saying that that new electoral boundaries do not automatically mean victory for Barisan in the coming election as voter preferences are changing all the time.
The motion, once debated and passed with a simple majority in Parliament, will be gazetted upon receiving Royal assent.
RELATED NEWS: –