On March 14, the Election Commission (EC) is in the midst of reviewing the electoral boundaries set by the Dewan Rakyat last year. EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said this is to ensure that the implemented areas were fair and within regulations.
The goal was to carry out proper analysis on its effects on the economy, racial diversity, and voting trends, which is important and can vastly affect election results. Azhar also said the socio-economic realities and geographical locations of certain constituencies have to be considered.
Adding a little backstory as to probably why Azhar wants to review it; the last redelineation approved by Dewan Rakyat was done March last year. With 129 members supporting while 80 opposing. Back then, 12 parliamentary and state legislative assembly constituencies were redelineated, right before GE-14.
The month of March last year was not short on drama as numerous politicians condemned the act of redelineation right before the general election. The Selangor State Assembly said it was an obvious tactic to give Barisan Nasional (BN) an advantage in Selangor.
Moreover, Azhar himself mentioned that the redelineation process carried out from 2016 to 2018 were flawed and might be illegal.
But last November, the EC announced there won’t be any redelineation exercise going on for the next seven years. Azhar explained that the committee would only be tasked with ways to improve the exercise, and did not involve a fresh redelineation.
According to the Federal Constitution, redelineation can only be conducted once every 8 years. But the EC said if their studies found that it wasn’t fair, they will submit proposals to the Parliament for further action.
It is certainly too late for the review to affect the upcoming Rantau by-election on April 13. But if the review proceeds, it will definitely affect GE -15. Could a truly fair redelineation ever be carried out in our country?