Dr Yii: New parliamentary constituencies must be crafted out from populous areas to ensure fairness in ‘one vote, one value’ principle

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Sept 9: New parliamentary constituencies must be crafted out from more populous constituency to ensure fairness in the value of a vote across constituencies as Sabah and Sarawak look forward to holding 35 per cent of total seats in Parliament.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen said while he welcomed the announcement of the agreed 35 per cent parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak, he urged that the new constituencies are crafted to ensure that every vote in a particular constituency is as close as having equal value and weight with the other constituency.

“That means such new constituency must be crafted out from more populous constituencies, mainly in the urban areas, not the less populated ones in the rural areas.

“As a result of large differences in constituency size, the value of vote is not equal across constituencies.

“For example my constituency of Bandar Kuching has more than 130,000 voters, and yet they only vote in one elected representative while a constituency such as Batang Sadong with 23,000 voters also elect a single representative. That means a vote is Batang Sadong is worth almost six times more than Bandar Kuching.

“We cannot water down further the value of one person as what we have seen over the years due to unfair gerrymandering,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Yii also urged for the promise of 35 per cent total seats for Sabah and Sarawak to be implemented as soon as possible and not merely be left as a mere promise especially before elections.

He explained that the parliamentary seats allocation to both Sabah and Sarawak was not an argument about population or even the size of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but rights and safeguards agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia.

“The electoral system and re-delineation must follow international standards, not tied to one that fits the system and interests of those in power.

“Such safeguards are for the people and thus the democratic value of each vote must be main consideration for the formation of new constituencies,” he added.

Yesterday (Sept 8), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili announced that the fifth meeting of Special Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in Putrajaya, had agreed to honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) reports by allowing Sarawak and Sabah to hold 35 per cent of the parliamentary seats.

Presently, Peninsular Malaysian states hold a total of 166 seats (75 per cent), while Sarawak (31 seats) and Sabah (25) only make up the rest of 56 seats out of the total 222 seats. — DayakDaily