• Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 16th of March, 2017

    Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

    On the 8th of March, 2017, the Election Commission (EC) published a notice to announce the official start of the 2nd round of the public display for the 2016 constituency delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia (excluding Selangor). This notice was published in the Federal Gazette[1], in mainstream newspapers and can also be found in land offices and district offices in each state in Peninsular Malaysia.

    By going through the first delimitation proposal first published on the 15th of September, 2016 (Syor 1) and the second delimitation proposal published on the 8th of March, 2017 (Syor 2), I was able to identify polling districts (or daerah mengundi) which were included in Syor 1 but were excluded in Syor 2. For example, the polling district of Kampong Teratai, with 876 voters, was listed under the state constituency of N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in the state of Johor (Figure 1 below). This was one of the many polling stations that were taken out of the P143 Pagoh parliament seat and moved into the P144 Ledang parliament seat.

    Figure 1: Kampong Teratai polling station with 876 voters in N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in Johor, published in Syor 1 on the 15th of September, 2016

    Surprisingly, in Syor 2, the Kampong Teratai polling district is missing. So where did this polling station go? Why does this matter? The reason why this matters is because if the 876 voters in Kampong Teratai do not know which state and parliamentary seat they have been placed, they cannot object to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2. Hence, they would be deprived of their constitutional right to object, which is spelt out in Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

    As it turns out, it is likely that the Kampong Teratai polling station was moved back to the P143 Pagoh parliamentary constituency under the N7 Bukit Kepong state constituency. The total number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong is given as 27350 in Syor 2 (See Figure 2 below) but the sum of voters obtained by adding up the number of voters in the 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong shown in Syor 2 is only 26474.[2] This means there is a different of 876 voters in N7 Bukit Kepong which, coincidentally is also the number of voters in the Kampung Teratai polling station which is missing from Syor 2.

    Figure 2: The 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong (under P143 Pagoh) in Syor 2 showing 27350 voters but adds up to only 26474 voters (difference of 876 voters)

    If the Election Commission (EC) has indeed made a mistake by leaving out the Kampong Teratai polling district from the N7 Bukit Kepong state seat, it should immediately publish a correction in the gazette and in the mainstream newspapers. Failure to do so may mean that this second public notice is unconstitutional.

    At the same time, I also found examples of where new polling stations were added in Syor 2. While the Election Commission has the right to add new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. The Election Commission reconfigured existing and added new polling stations on the 29th of April, 2016 under this provision in the Elections Act 1958. (See Figure 3 below).

    Figure 3: Reconfiguring existing and adding new polling stations under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958 (Announced in the Federal Gazette on the 29th of April, 2016)

    If the Election Commission had wanted to add in new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. It cannot do so between Syor 1 and Syor 2 of the delimitation exercise. But this was exactly what the Election Commission did when it added in the new polling station of Taman Rimba in the state constituency of N30 Mentakab under the P88 Temerloh parliamentary constituency in Syor 2 (See Figure 4 below). Taman Rimba was not a polling station in Syor 1 of the delimitation exercise.

    The adding of new polling stations affects the ability of voters to make objections to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2 since voters may not know that they have been assigned to the new polling station such as the one created in N30 Mentakab. If this is the case, then their constitutional right, under Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, will be affected.

    Figure 4: Addition of a new polling station called Taman Rimba in Syor 2 in N30 Mentakab, P88 Temerloh

    Based on the evidence presented here, the Election Commission should immediately answer the following two questions: (i) have polling stations which were originally in Syor 1 been mistakenly left out in Syor 2 (e.g. Kampong Teratai in N7 Bukit Kepong under P143 Pagoh) and (ii) have there been new polling stations created in Syor 2 and why was this not done under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958.

    Failure to do so would affect the constitutionality and the procedural validity of the entire delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: List of polling stations and number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong in Syor 2

    [1] http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/outputp/pub_20170308_PU%20(B)%20127%20(2)%20latest.pdf

    [2] Refer to Appendix 1 below to check the total number of voters as shown in Syor 2.