Selangor delineation: Malapportionment, gerrymandering and racial constituencies — Lim Wei Jiet
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JANUARY 7 — In recent weeks, we have seen scores of voters attending local enquiries to raise their objections to the EC’s latest round of delineation proposals in the State of Selangor. This is a matter of great importance to Selangorians. The power of their vote, democracy & the multiracial balance of the State is at stake.
In the interests of the public, I feel there is a great necessity to summarise the impact of the EC’s delineation proposal on a macro level.
All of the facts & figures below are derived from expert reports submitted by the State Government of Selangor in its suit against the EC at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. While the state government did not succeed in its challenge on a legal ground (which is currently on appeal), this evidence forms part of the public record & ultimately deserves to be brought to light.
To the best of knowledge, these facts & figures remain unrebutted in evidence before the Court — the EC has maintained that any complaints should be raised at the local enquiry.
In gist, the expert reports reveal the following:
The creation of at least six super-parliamentary constituencies:
(a) PJ Utara (to be called Damansara): 84,456 to 150,439 voters
(b) Serdang (to be called Bangi): 139,013 to 146,168 voters
(c) Klang: 98,285 to 141,275 voters
(d) PJ Selatan (to be called Petaling Jaya): 78,404 to 129,363 voters
(e) Kelana Jaya (to be called Subang): 101,603 to 128,330 voters
(f) Kota Raja: 110,082 to 121,126 voters
The largest proposed parliamentary constituency, Damansara, has 150,439 voters whereas the smallest proposed parliamentary constituency, Sabak Bernam, has only 37,126 voters. This means that the value of a Sabak Bernam constituent’s vote is worth 4.05 times more than that of a Damansara constituent.
The largest proposed State Constituency, Subang Jaya, has 66,059 voters whereas the smallest proposed State Constituency, Sungai Air Tawar, has only 15,033 voters. This means that the value of a Sungai Air Tawar constituent’s vote is worth 4.39 times more than that of a Subang Jaya constituent.
Big picture at the state constituency level, assuming voting patterns are the same as GE13, the EC’s proposal will result in the number of BN safe seats (55 per cent) to increase from five to nine and the number of BN marginal seats (50-55 per cent) to increase from seven to eight.
Correspondingly, the number of Pakatan safe seats (45 per cent) will decrease from 35 to 28. The EC’s proposal would effectively ensure BN wins at least five more state constituencies in GE14.
From the GE13 results, N51 Sijangkang and N52 Banting were Pakatan safe seats (45 per cent) while N53 Morib was a Pakatan marginal seat (50-55 per cent). The EC’s proposal results in massive shifting of polling districts between these three states constituencies.
Assuming the voting preference in each polling district is the same as GE13, the EC’s proposal would result in N51 Sijangkang and N53 Morib becoming BN marginal seats and N52 remaining as a Pakatan safe seat. In effect, what had been originally two Pakatan safe seats and one Pakatan marginal seat now becomes one Pakatan safe seat and two BN marginal seats.
Delineation based on race
In status quo, there are currently 16 mixed state constituencies (ranging from 50-60 per cent Malay voters to 50-60 per cent Chinese voters) in Selangor. The EC has proposed these 16 constituencies to be converted into 13 Malay dominant seats (more than 60 per cent Malay voters) and three Chinese dominant seats (more than 60 per cent Chinese voters).
This would effectively cripple the multiracial balance and harmony of the most progressive state in Malaysia.
Both P109 Kapar and the adjacent P110 Klang are currently multiracial parliamentary constituencies. The EC has proposed to transfer the N44 Sungai Pinang State Constituency (largely Chinese) from P109 Kapar to the P110 Klang. This would leave P109 Kapar with an increased Malay majority to approximately 67.6 per cent compared to 50.6 per cent previously.
In turn, P110 Klang would have an even larger Chinese presence to approximately 55.4 per cent compared to 45.9 per cent previously. There is no justifiable reason for the conversion of two originally healthy multiracial constituencies into two communal/race-based ones.
One can only hope that the above information can be circulated & made known to as many Selangorians as possible. The democratic fate of their State is on trial here.
* Lim Wei Jiet is an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. He is a member of the legal team representing the state government of Selangor.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.