Rashid has virtually confirmed that previous constituency redelineation exercises violated the 'one man, one vote, one value' principle and establishing that the EC totally lacks transparency, credibility, integrity and professionalism

The nation must thank Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, the one man with the most experience as Secretary and Chairman of the Election Commission who managed not only six of 13 general elections but responsible for three of the four constituency redelineations in Malaysia, for admitting that the Election Commission has never lived up to its constitutional responsibility of being an independent and non-partisan body but was only an appendage of UMNO/Barisan Nasional to ensure their perpetual hold to political power.

Rashid's joining of Perkasa is shocking enough, but this is nothing compared to his virtual confession that he had been responsible for the gerrymandering of the parliamentary and state assembly constituencies in three of the four constituency redelineations in the nation's history.

Justifying his joining Perkasa, Rashid said that power was a numbers game and he could ensure that the Malays remain in power as this was the agenda of three constituency redelineation exercises conducted during his time with the Election Commission.

Rashid has not only confirmed, but become the most notable witness, of the fact that previous constituency redelineations were gerrymandering exercises which violated the “one man, one vote, one value” principle and establishing that the Election Commission totally lacks transparency, credibility, integrity and professionalism.

But these “gerrymandering” exercises were not to ensure that the Malays remain in power but to ensure that UMNO/BN remain in power as they were also directed against Malays not in Umno.

This is best illustrated by the last redelineation exercise which came into force in 2003 and was used for the 2004, 2008 and 2014 general elections.

The Election Commission violated three redelineation guidelines in the 2003 redelineation of constituencies causing further deviation from the “one man, one vote, one value” principle, viz:

  • Deviation from the redelineation principle that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats;
  • Interpretation of “rural weightage” to place Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah above the parliamentary quota in peninsular Malaysia for the first time in the history of constituency redelineation; and
  • Reversal of the process to narrow the disparity in the number of electors among the constituencies started in the 1984 and 1994 redelineation exercises.

In the 2003 constituency redelineation, Johore was allocated six new parliamentary seats. Based on Johore's allocation (totalling 26 seats) and the Election Commission's redelineation guideline in previous exercises that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats, a fair and equitable redelineation of the electoral constituencies in 2003 would be to allocate ten new parliamentary seats to Selangor (giving Selangor a total of 27 seats instead of 22) and one new parliamentary seat each for Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.

This is because Selangor had the most number of registered voters with 1,368,693 voters (an increase of 44.18% from the previous redelineation in 1993) as compared to Johore which was second with 1,223,532 voters (an increase of 24.5%).

Similarly, Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah should be allocated one new parliamentary seat each in view of the 16.2%, 21.76% and 17.4% increase of voters respectively since the last redelineation, as Negri Sembilan and Malacca were allocated one new seat each with 20.04% and 23% increase of voters respectively. Pahang, with 21.39% increase in voters, (less than the 21.76% increase registered by Terengganu), was allocated three new parliamentary seats.

The reason for violating this redelineation guideline that the state in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest number of registered voters is allocated the most number of parliamentary seats is purely political, as giving 10 new parliamentry seats to Selangor would be quite dicey politically for Umno/BN as in the 1999 general election, Umno/BN only secured 53.84% of the total votes cast, losing six state assembly seats to the Opposition.

Giving six new parliamentary seats to Johore, however, is regarded as a “sure bet” for BN/Umno as Johore was regarded as their fortress, with Umno/BN securing 71% of the votes cast in the state in the 1999GE, sweeping all the 20 Parliamentary and 40 State Assembly seats in the State.

Similarly the refusal to allocate additional seats for Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah as warranted by past redelineation practices was purely political, as it was directed againsst PAS to ensure that Umno (and not Malays) is entrenched in power at the federal level.

Very pertinent about the lack of independence and professionalism of the Election Commission in the past redelineation exercise is the statement yesterday by the DAP MP for Serdang, Dr. Ong Kian Ming, who said:

“I was part of an Institute Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS ) study team from UKM looking at the constituency delineation process and I remember distinctly Rashid telling the members of the study team that he had received instructions from then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad not to add any seats in the three northern states and also to create more ethnically ‘mixed' seats.

“The presumption then was that non-Malays would not vote for the opposition, namely PAS, and having more non-Malay voters in these seats would help the BN.”

Rashid has clearly betrayed the constitutional trust bestowed on him when he was secretary and chairman of the Election Commission and is a living witness why the present batch of Election Commission members should be replaced by a truly independent, impartial and professional Election Commission, who commands the confidence of all political parties and NGOs to conduct the new constituency redelineation in a fair, democratic and unbiased manner.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah