Human rights group expresses concern with EC redelineation

Modified 4 Oct 2016, 3:45 am

The Election Commission’s redelineation proposals provide for some of the urban parliamentary constituencies to become extremely large in contrast with rural and semi-urban areas, the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) noted with concern today.

In a statement today, Proham said the redelineation has implications on 12 parliamentary and 34 state seats.

“There is a public outcry on this matter and expressions of distrust from different sections of the political divide,” it said in a statement.

“The size of the constituency matters, as some of the urban parliamentary constituencies are extremely large in contrast with the rural and semi-urban seats.

“This matter must be urgently reviewed so as to ensure that the democratic rights of the citizens are well protected,” said the statement issued on behalf of its chairperson Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari.

The redelineation exercise, Proham said, is a fundamental process in parliamentary democracy and this exercise must be publicly viewed as a non-partisan exercise, thereby instilling public confidence in the process and outcomes.

'It must be transparent, just and fair'

“It is of utmost importance that such a redelination exercise must be undertaken in an environment of public trust.

“The exercise must be viewed by all parties as transparent, just and fair, with no political advantage for any one political party or group, in line with the democratic principle of one citizen-one vote,” Kuthubul said.

Proham therefore called for a review of the redelineation proposals and for objections to be filed by political parties and citizen groups to initiate parliamentary and state level talks and reviews to encourage active voter participation.

This, it added, would also enhance voter education and active citizen participation in the objection and public hearing process.

Proham also called on the EC to undertake some proactive public awareness sessions with registered voters at the affected parliamentary and state levels, before the end of the objection period.

“This would reduce the level of distrust and scepticism in the public discussions on the redelination exercise,” it said, adding that it also encourages an active citizenry participation in this exercise, through in-depth review and filing of objections so as to enhance parliamentary democracy.

As part of the move, Proham is also organising a talk titled “Redelineation exercise: Enhancing parliamentary democracy or undermining it” at the BAC Petaling Jaya campus on Thursday afternoon.

Among the speakers at the session will be Kuthubul Zaman, Serdang MP Ong Kian Meng and Penang Institute's Wong Chin Huat.

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