The Election Commission today dismissed allegations that the election system and the redelineation of electoral boundaries are designed to favour certain political parties in the next general election.
EC chairperson Mohd Hashim Abdullah said all the systems – registration of voters, the conduct of elections and the redelineation of electoral boundaries – were transparent and fair.
He said the allegations referred to in an article in The Economist were baseless claims intended to confuse the people.
The EC would not be cowed by these criticisms in its commitment to conduct the 14th general election in a transparent and fair manner and by complying with all the legislative processes relating to elections, he said in a statement here.
“The EC insists that there is no manipulation of the election system or redelineation of electoral boundaries for GE14. The EC will not compromise with any quarters that attempt to sabotage the election process that will take place,” he said.
Hashim was commenting on an article entitled “Stop, thief! Malaysia's PM is about to steal an election” published by The Economist.
On the redelineation of electoral boundaries, he said the exercise was conducted not to serve political interests, but in the interests and for the convenience of voters and to facilitate the service of the elected representatives.
“The question of the victory or defeat of candidates depends on their efforts to win the hearts of the people and draw the support of the voters to elect them as the voters have the absolute power to decide on their choice,” he said.
He said the history of elections had proven that redelineation was not the determining factor in the victory of any candidate, as this was decided by the voter, as happened in Selangor, Penang, Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu and Perak, which had been administered by the opposition despite the election system having remained the same.
Hashim said gerrymandering and malapportionment were often used as the excuse by certain quarters to blame the EC for allegedly having delineated a constituency with the aim of giving victory to a particular party.
He insisted the decision of the courts in favour of the EC clearly proved that it had complied with all the principles of the redelineation exercise based on the provisions outlined in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
On malapportionment, or the creation of electoral seats of unequal size, he said the formula for comparison often used by those making the allegations were improper and intended to confuse the people.
Explaining in terms of the geographical and population perspectives, he said that though the rural parliamentary and state constituencies were larger in size, the population was small and the settlements were scattered.
In comparison, urban constituencies were smaller in size, but the population density was high, sometimes the inhabitants reaching over a million people, and the settlements were clustered or centralised, he said.
“The recommendations for the redelineation have been drawn up by taking into account all the proposals and feedback from the objectors eligible by law to make representations,” he said.
Hashim said the final report of the EC on the redelineation exercise would have to be tabled, debated and approved in the Dewan Rakyat.
“As such, members of the Dewan Rakyat should take the opportunity to debate the recommendations and arrive at a decision accordingly. The EC has carried out its responsibility in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Hashim also stated that it was estimated that over 200,000 agents of candidates or parties would be stationed at almost 30,000 polling stations to monitor the GE14 process.
“In this regard, the EC wishes to advise every candidate or party to appoint an adequate number of representatives as observers/agents to witness that the electoral process is transparent and fair.
“Therefore, claims by certain quarters that the election system will be manipulated to favour certain political parties are mere allegations aimed at causing suspicion and confusing the people,” he added.
Hashim said the EC advised all quarters to practise politics of maturity and not to believe wild allegations aimed at raising suspicion over the credibility of the election system and the organisation conducting the election.
“In the latest political situation, it is improper for the EC and the system it implements to be made political capital by certain quarters.
“The EC will take the appropriate action in accordance with the law if it found any quarters trying to spread fake news and causing a nuisance and jeopardising the GE14 process,” he said.
Hashim stressed the EC would continue to undertake comprehensive efforts to explain to the people the facts and situations with regard to the election system, registration of voters and redelineation exercise so that they were not easily influenced by the allegations hurled at the commission.