PROHAM notes with concern the recent proposals by the Election Commission (EC) in its proposed redelineation exercise which the EC announced recently which has implications for 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.
PROHAM reiterates that the exercise of redelineation of constituencies is a fundamental process in parliamentary democracy and that this exercise must be publically viewed as a non-partisan exercise thereby instilling public confidence in the process and outcomes.
It is of utmost important 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, noting the democratic principle of one citizen - one vote principle.
In this proposed exercise it seems that the size of the constituency matters as some of the urban parliamentary constituencies are extremely large in contrast to the rural and semi urban seats. This matter must be urgently reviewed so as to ensure that the citizens’ democratic rights are well protected.
PROHAM notes the stipulated period for review and objections is an open one. It calls on political parties and citizen groups to organise parliamentary and state level talks and reviews seeking an active voter participation in this process. This can enhance voter education and active citizen participation in the objection and public hearing process.
Additionally, PROHAM calls on the Election Commission to undertake some proactive public awareness sessions with the registered voters at the affected parliamentary and state level before the end of the objection period. This could reduce the level of distrust and scepticism in the public discussions and redelination exercise.
PROHAM encourages an active citizenry participation in this exercise by in-depth review and filling of objections so as to enhance parliamentary democracy.
Issue on behalf of PROHAM by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (PROHAM Chair), Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (PROHAM Secretary General) & Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam (PROHAM Member).
September 22, 2016