EC responds to allegations of rigging

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has denied allegations that the election system and the redelineation exercise have been rigged to favour a certain party in the coming 14th general election (GE14).

In a lengthy statement to debunk such allegations, EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said yesterday voter registration, electoral process and the redelineation exercise had been conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

"The EC has never taken into consideration the interests of any political party as we view the reason for and impact of the redelineation exercise is in the interest of voters and elected representatives.

Responding to a March 8 article by London-based The Economist – an English weekly magazine-format newspaper – titled "How Malaysia's Next Election Will Be Rigged", Mohd Hashim said: "History has also proven that redelineation is not the deciding factor to the victory or defeat of a party. Instead, it is determined by the voters."

"This is apparent in states like Selangor, Penang, Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu and Perak which have been, or are still, ruled by the Opposition."

The article had, among other things, alleged that the country's election system was manipulated for Barisan Nasional's (BN) victory, with issues of mal-apportionment and gerrymandering highlighted as the two biggest concerns.

"The recent court decisions (rejecting applications to prevent the EC from implementing the redelineation) in favour of the EC clearly proves it has abided by the provisions outlined in the Federal Constitution."

Mohd Hashim also said it was not fair for any quarters to compare constituencies in urban areas to rural ones, as rural constituencies are much larger geographically but smaller in terms of population.

This is different to urban constituencies, which are smaller geographically but are more populated and their placements are more congregated, he added.

"There are also more facilities in constituencies in urban areas such as schools and halls. It would be more appropriate to compare urban seats with urban seats, and likewise for the rural ones."

Mohd Hashim said the redelineation was also drafted after taking into account feedback and suggestions by objectors in accordance to the law.

He added that having submitted the final report to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on March 9, the EC had completed its responsibility in conducting the redelineation exercise.

"However, the recommendations by the EC in the report are not final, as they still need to be tabled, debated and passed in Parliament, and all MPs should use the opportunity to debate and decide accordingly," he said.

Mohd Hisham added that over 200,000 polling agents will be stationed at close to 30,000 polling stations to monitor the election process on polling day.

"In this regard, the EC urges all candidates and parties to appoint sufficient agents to be witnesses and ensure that all aspects of the election process is carried out fairly and transparently."