Monday, September 23

See ready to withdraw with conditions

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No more judicial review bid if Election Commission meets requests in relation to proposed electoral boundary review

Philip (right) consulting a lawyer, See (left) and several Mambong members on their objections during a break of the hearing yesterday.

See (right) hands over the letter by Bersih 2.0 for Abdul Aziz to Takun (left).

KUCHING: Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How is willing to withdraw the application for judicial review if the Election Commission (EC) agrees to provide details on the proposed recommendation for constituency redelineation.

See, who is also state PKR vice-chairman, and Pauls Baya of Baram had on Jan 28 this year filed an application for judicial review to declare the EC’s notice of proposed recommendations for redelineation null and void.

The Kuching High Court had granted leave to hear the judicial review and fixed March 19, 2015, for the case to be mentioned.

See said there were procedures and principles that the EC had to follow for the delineation of boundary as specified under Section II of the 13th Schedule, such as the principle of ‘one person, one vote, one value’.

He gave several conditions for withdrawing the judicial review application, among which are that the EC must publish details on ways the delineation was conducted, the weightage given to rural votes, number of voters affected, creation of new constituencies, and how the voters were moved from one constituency to the other.

“Besides that, the EC should stop the local inquiries and talk to various groups that are concerned about the delineation and take into considerations their points on the factors that they should take into consideration in the delineation exercise, then we are willing to withdraw the application for judicial review,” he told reporters covering the hearing by the EC for Mambong state constituency at Dewan Masyarakat here yesterday.

The EC hearing was chaired by its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and other members of the commission were also present. It was a closed-door hearing, with only three spokespersons listed in the objection list allowed to give their representation.

The three spokepersons, led by PKR Mambong division secretary Philip Ayan, raised eight objections to the proposed constituency delineation for Mambong. Among their objections were imbalanced division of voters in the three state constituencies, namely Serumbu, Tarat and Mambong, in the newly renamed Puncak Borneo parliamentary constituency.

They objected to the proposed shifting of 23 polling districts from Bengoh (existing/old name) to the newly proposed N18 Serembu.

Representing voters in the area, Philip said, “We object to these shifting although it has brought the voter population of the proposed Mambong(originallyBengoh) down from 24,655 voters during the last general election (GE13) to 16,803 voters. But this number is still higher than the state average of voters per DUN, which is 13,526 (meaning it is 24.23% higher than state average)”

Philip also said there was an internal malapportionment within the parliamentary constituency, with the new DUN of Serembu having 9,677 voters while the proposed N19 Mambong had 16,803 and N20 Rarat 16,374.

“Why is the EC unable to delineate in such a way as to bring about an equal distribution of voters in each DUN area? We say that the EC is hence in breach of the constitutional provision under Clause 2 (c ) 13 Schedule of the Federal Constitution, under which it is obliged to follow,” said Philip.

Meanwhile, state EC director Datu Takun Sunggah, when met after the hearing, said the whole hearing process would take two weeks, and the results of all the objections would be published on the second display on a date to be decided later.

He said the EC had heard objections for five constituencies yesterday, including Stampin and Mambong.

Takun said the EC would be conducting hearing in all the major towns in the state, including in Miri, Bintulu , Sibu and Betong.

In a related development, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) proposed to meet Abdul Aziz at 8.30am today at the state EC office in Kuching to discuss the Sarawak redelineation exercise issue.

The letter from Bersih 2.0 to Abdul Aziz was handed over by See to Takun at Dewan Masyarakat yesterday.

However, there was no decision by Abdul Aziz whether he would be meeting the Bersih 2.0 delegation today.