MALAYSIA NOW – SEPTEMBER 2016

NEWS

The EC’s Redelineation Proposal

The Election Commission (EC) has issued a redelineation proposal that changes the boundaries of all 11 parliamentary constituencies in Kuala Lumpur.

It also proposes for all eight of the Terengganu parliamentary constituencies to be altered, while Johor boasts the most number of constituencies with the proposed changes (21 out of 26 seats to be affected).

This is followed by Selangor (18 out of 22 seats affected) and Perak (17 out of 24 seats affected).

For Sabah, changes are proposed for 15 out of 25 parliament seats.

Perlis, Putrajaya, and Labuan are the only state and Federal Territories that would have their parliamentary constituency boundaries untouched.

Under the proposal, a total of 12 parliamentary and 36 state constituencies would see name changes, with most of the latter changes (eight) in Johor.

Selangor has the most number of constituencies proposed for the name changes, affecting five parliamentary and six state seats in total.

Among others, the Subang parliamentary seat currently held by Sivarasa Rasiah of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) is to be renamed as Sungai Buloh, while the Kelana Jaya seat held by PKR’s Wong Chen would be renamed Subang.

The Petaling Jaya Utara seat held by Tony Pua from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Petaling Jaya Selatan held by PKR’s Hee Loy Sian are to be renamed as Damansara and Petaling Jaya, respectively.

The Pakatan Harapan secretariat proposes that Selangor and Penang object to the redelineation, while PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said he will submit a Private Member’s Bill to remove redelineation powers from the EC. DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang questioned why the EC did not fulfil its previous promise to ensure that every parliamentary seat will not have more than 100,000 voters. PKR women’s wing chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the proposal justifies the need for the upcoming Bersih 5 rally.

Number of seats affected by the EC’s redelineation proposal. Infografic by Malaysiakini.
Number of seats affected by the EC’s redelineation proposal.
Infografic by Malaysiakini.

 

Bersih 2.0 Stresses Need for Automatic Voter Registration
Bersih 2.0 has reiterated the need for the EC to introduce automatic voter registration.

“There has been too much misinformation over the past few weeks over deadlines to register to vote and false mechanisms to register through WhatsApp or SMS. Bersih believes this misinformation is due to the systematic failure of the Election Commission to facilitate voter registration. Bersih repeats its long-held demand to introduce automatic voter registration, based on information already held by the National Registration Department,” it said in a statement.

It further pointed out that automatic voter registration was one of the recommendations in the 2012 report by

the parliamentary selection committee on electoral reform.

“The automated process will further assist in ensuring voters are registered with the correct and up-to-date addresses.”

“In the long run it will lead to a more accurate electoral roll,” it said.

Bersih said at present, there are some four million eligible citizens that have yet to be registered as voters.

It notes that the EC had, after the last general election, made it increasingly difficult for political parties and NGOs to register new voters by blocking their applications to be assistant registrar officers.

“At the current rate of registration by the EC, there is little chance of this number being reduced before the next general election,” it said.

DAP: The EC Sabotaging the Electoral Process
The EC may be sabotaging the electoral process, Selangor DAP said, citing restrictions and difficulties faced in the voter registration process.

Damansara Jaya MP and Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua said that the EC had informed Selangor DAP to cancel all planned voter registration campaigns after 3 October 2016.

“(This is) purportedly because the EC now has to focus on handling the objections to the proposed redelineation exercise,” said Pua.

Pua said that the EC also failed to give full cooperation for the five registration drives Selangor DAP held this month, with limited numbers of forms provided during each session.

Instead of making concerted efforts to increase the number of voters registered, Pua claimed, the EC was doing its utmost to slow down the registration of new voters. This includes having stopped the appointment of assistant registration officers (ARO) from political parties and NGOs since 2013, he said.

Asked for the EC’s rationale for ending the appointment of AROs, Pua retorted that the EC claimed that “we don’t need it anymore… We can handle it on our own.”

Subang Jaya assemblyperson and Selangor DAP vice-chief Hannah Yeoh said, “We advertised that the registration drive was open until 6pm, but had to end it from as early as 2pm.”

This was because requests for the EC to bring at least 2,000 forms to each location was denied.

Tony Pua claims that the EC is sabotaging voter registration efforts.
Tony Pua claims that the EC is sabotaging voter registration efforts. Picture by the Malay Mail.

 

Recommendations on Political Financing

The national consultative committee made 32 recommendations on political financing in its political financing report. The report was unveiled by the committee’s chairperson, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low.

One of the recommendations includes that foreign sources should be banned from making cash donations to political parties and politicians. “Foreign sources” include individuals, companies, foundations, organisations, associations or any registered or non-registered entities that are not domiciled in Malaysia.

However, they are only prohibited from making donations in the form of cash.

Also, firms that receive government contracts and concessions should be prohibited from making any kind of direct, indirect or in-kind political contributions. This will apply to all layers of government.

The committee also suggested that state- owned enterprises of all types and subsidiaries be banned from making political donations as well, and that money from unknown sources must be confiscated.

“A mechanism must be created by the controller so that if a political party or politician cannot identify the origin of money they received, then this money should be confiscated and put into a fund that is managed by the controller for activities to strengthen democracy in Malaysia,” said Paul Low.

Tony Pua said that while the opposition supports political financing reforms, he also insisted that the reforms cannot be abused by the ruling coalition to victimize the opposition’s funders when they are made public.

Paul Low unveiling the 32 recommendations. Picture by Malaysiakini.
Paul Low unveiling the 32 recommendations. Picture by Malaysiakini.

 

Tian Chua Gets Jail Three Months’ Jail and RM1800 Fine
PKR vice-president and Batu MP was sentenced to three months’ jail and a fine of RM1,800 after he was found guilty of sedition by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

Judge Zulqarnian Hassan specifically pointed to the words “bangkit” (rise up) and “turun ke jalan raya” (take to the streets), used by Tian Chua during a forum three years ago.

Tian Chua was granted a stay pending appeal against the conviction.

The sentence given to Tian Chua would not affect his position as an MP in any way. An MP would lose his seat in the House of Commons, and be barred from contesting for a seat for five years, only if fined more than RM2,000 or sentenced to more than a year in prison.

The Malaysian chapter of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists condemned the conviction, saying that the Malaysian authorities have used repressive legislation to silence dissenting voices to clap down on legitimate comment and dissent. This indicated a further erosion of legitimate rights under international human rights laws and standards.

Tian Chua was found guilty of sedition. Picture by Malaysiakini.
Tian Chua was found guilty of sedition. Picture by Malaysiakini.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Global Bersih Gears Up for Bersih 5

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The Bersih 5 convoy will begin on 1 October 2016 in 5 different states and will end on 19 November 2016 with a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur.

Global Bersih will also once again organize contemporaneous rallies in cities worldwide to stand in solidarity with Malaysians back home.

If you would like to help organize a rally or other solidarity event where you are, please send an e-mail to the Global Bersih secretariat at contact@globalbersih.org.

For more information on participating cities and dates, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/356847 181313427/

 

Potluck evening with Ivy Josiah in San Francisco

Ivy Josiah, of Global Bersih
Ivy Josiah, of Global Bersih

Global Bersih steering committee member Ivy Josiah will be meeting fellow Malaysians in the San Francisco bay area, USA. The potluck meeting will take place at a clubhouse in Sunnyvale on 28 October 2016.

She will be discussing current Malaysian issues on women’s rights, preparations for the Bersih 5 rally and the political outlook for the country.

For more information, you may visit:

https://www.facebook.com/events/169508 9860813033/

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