• The Election Commission must disclose which groups are responsible for registering a record 500k voters in the 2016 Third Quarter electoral roll update

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 9th of December, 2016

    The Election Commission must disclose which groups are responsible for registering a record 500k voters in the 2016 Third Quarter electoral roll update

    In the recently released Quarter 3, 2016 electoral roll update, an astounding 501,799 newly registered voters was added to the electoral roll. This is more than 5 times the number of newly registered voters in Quarter 2, 2016 and 5 times more than the number of newly registered voters just before the 2013 general elections (See Table 1 and Figure 1 below).

    There are many reasons for the record number of newly registered voters in Q3 2016. Many voters visited post offices to register themselves upon hearing the rumour that the registration deadline for the 14th general election, were it to be held in March 2017, was 30th September, 2016. There was also an increase in voter registration activities, organized by political parties and various NGOs, in cooperation with officials from the Election Commission.

    At the same time, one cannot help but be concerned that the voter registration activities are not being conducted on a level playing field. According to the 2015 Election Commission Annual Report, the EC appointed a total of 12,160 Assistant Registrars (AROs). 11,959 or 98.3% of the AROs are civil servants representing different government departments with only 48 or 0.4% representing political parties, 30 or 0.2% representing universities and 123 or 1.0% representing NGOs (See Table 2 and Figure 2 below)

    With civil servants making such a large % of the AROs, one cannot help but be concerned that some of these AROs from departments such as JASA, the Ministry of Information’s propaganda unit, are being used to register voters selectively, especially in the marginal parliament and state seats.

    In order to lessen the public’s fears that some of these AROs are not abusing their status, the Election Commission should publish a detailed breakdown of the number of new voters registered by civil servants according to department, by individual political parties, by student representatives in each university and by each NGO. Before the 13th general election, when many more political party representatives were appointed as AROs, the Election Commission used to publish the number of newly registered voters by political party. There is no reason why the EC cannot continue to disclose this information for all the AROs they have appointed.

    In addition, in order to level the playing field, the Election Commission should once again appoint representatives from political parties to be AROs especially since the EC themselves are often short-handed and cannot spare the time go to places such as pasar malams at night to register new voters.

    Better still, if the government can agree to Bersih’s demand of automatic registration of voters when they reach voting age, then doubts about the number of newly registered voters can be significantly reduced.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • Will Donald Trump’s victory encourage UMNO to pursue a similarly divisive path in Malaysia?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, 9th of November, 2016

    Will Donald Trump’s victory encourage UMNO to pursue a similarly divisive path in Malaysia?

    I, like many others, am still reeling from the shock of Donald Trump’s unlikely victory in the US presidential elections. Most polls showed Hillary Clinton having narrow to comfortable leads in the swing states. Most prediction models including fivethirtyeight.com and the New York Time’s Upshot were predicting a Clinton victory. While much will be said in the next few days by academics, analysts and pundits, to explain Trump’s unlikely victory, my greater fear is what his victory may spell for us in Malaysia.

    Donald Trump eked out his stunning victory despite running a divisive campaign that played on the fears of the majority vis-à-vis the minorities, that made appeals to a narrow base of voters, that compelled Americans to look inwards rather than outwards and that was populist and short of policy substance. Not to mention the allegations of sexual assault that plagued his campaign just a month and a half ago.

    My fear for Malaysia is that UMNO may be following a similar playbook in the run up to the 14th general elections. There may be some who hope that Trump’s victory over an establishment figure like Hillary Clinton may be a precursor to a BN-UMNO defeat in GE14 brought about by Malaysians who are sick and tired of the ruling regime. But what is more likely is that UMNO will use the same politics of fear and divisiveness to pit the majority against the minorities and to win by appealing to a narrow base.

    We can already see some elements on this playbook in action. The tactics of the red shirts led by Jamal Yunos may be a precursor to more threats of violence. The recently proposed delimitation exercise was designed to dilute the effect of ethnically heterogenous or ‘mixed’ seats to enable UMNO to win by appealing to a narrower base. The attempts by UMNO to cosy up to PAS by allowing the amendment to Act 355 Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act to be tabled in parliament is also part of this playbook. My fear is that even more divisive strategies will be thought of and carried out in the run up to GE14.

    These steps were already in UMNO’s playbook before Trump’s victory. My greatest fear for Malaysia is that Trump’s victory will only embolden those in UMNO seeking to maintain power by emulating and expanding the Trumpean ‘winning’ strategy.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • Judicial Review filed on behalf of 3 voters in Batang Kali / Kuala Kubu Baru challenging the illegal transfer of voters and redrawing of boundary lines by the Election Commission

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 24th of October 2016

    Judicial Review filed on behalf of 3 voters in Batang Kali / Kuala Kubu Baru challenging the illegal transfer of voters and redrawing of boundary lines by the Election Commission

    On Friday, 21st of October 2016, lawyers representing 3 voters in the N6 Batang Kali and N7 Kuala Kubu state seats in Selangor filed a judicial review at the Higher Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur seeking to quash the outcome of the ‘belah bahagi’ exercise undertaken by the Election Commission on the 29th of April, 2016 and published in the Federal Government Gazette P.U. (B) 197.

    This ‘belah bahagi’ exercise was undertaken by the Election Commission under Section 7(2) of the Elections Act 1958. But the EC does not have the right to shift voters from one constituency to another, be it at the state or federal level. Nor does the EC have the right to redraw the boundaries of a constituency, be it at the state or federal level unless it is in the context of a delimitation exercise.

    In the delimitation exercise which was announced by the Election Commission on the 15th of September 2016, the boundaries of the P94 Hulu Selangor state seat, which includes the boundaries of the state seats of Batang Kali and Kuala Kubu Baru, were not affected. This means that voters who were shifted from Batang Kali to KKB and vice versa under the ‘belah bahagi’ exercise cannot have their objections heard during the public investigation and hearing portion of the delimitation exercise.

    As such this judicial review is the only option left to the voters of Batang Kali and KKB to object to the illegal redrawing of boundaries and transfer of voters by the EC on the 29th of April.

    It is clear that when we compare the electoral boundaries of the KKB seat in the 13th General Election and the electoral boundaries of the same state seat after the ‘belah bahagi’ exercise on the 29th of April 2016, that the boundaries have been changed (See Figure 1 below)

    Figure 1: Comparing the electoral boundaries of the Kuala Kubu Baru state seat in the 13th General Elections (blue border) and the electoral boundaries of the KKB state seat after the ‘belah bahagi’ exercise (white border)

    As a result of this illegal boundary change, over 5000 voters were moved from the Batang Kali state seat to the Kuala Kubu Baru state seat. The judicial review filed seeks to overturn this EC decision.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Reference: Judicial Review Statement – Batang Kali & Kuala Kubu Baru

  • 2016 Delimitation is a blatant attempt by the Election Commission to help UMNO win back control of the Selangor state government and win additional parliament seats in Selangor

    Press Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 21st of September 2016

    2016 Delimitation is a blatant attempt by the Election Commission to help UMNO win back control of the Selangor state government and win additional parliament seats in Selangor

    The 2016 delimitation exercise is a disgusting and partisan attempt by the Election Commission to gerrymander and malapportion parliament and state seats in Selangor in order to help the BN win back additional parliament and state seats.

    At the parliamentary level, the EC has redrawn the boundary lines by shifting pro-Pakatan state seats into pro-Pakatan parliament seats and by doing so, reduce the majority of marginal Pakatan parliament seats. For example, the N25 Kajang state seat has been moved from the P101 Hulu Langat parliament seat to the P102 Bangi parliament seat (the current Serdang parliament seat) resulting in the projected majority for Pakatan falling from 17267 in 2013 to 1046. In another example, the N37 Bukit Lanjan state seat has been moved from the P107 Sungai Buloh (the current Subang parliament seat) to P106 Damansara (the current Petaling Jaya Utara parliament seat) resulting in the projected majority for Pakatan falling from 26719 to 2013 to 3037. The N44 Sungai Pinang seat (renamed as N45 Bandar Baru Klang) has been moved from the P109 Kapar parliament seat to P110 Klang resulting in the projected majority for Pakatan falling from 23790 to 391. At the same time, the projected majorities for the super safe and super big (in terms voters) seats is expected to increase significantly – from 44672 to 73533 in P106 Damansara (the current PJU) and from 24685 to 49335 in P110 Klang. (See Table 1 below)

    Significant gerrymandering has also taken place at the state seat level. Many pro-opposition polling districts (daerah mengundi) have been shifted from marginal Pakatan seats into safe Pakatan seats in order to increase the chance for BN to win back some of the marginal seats. Based on the 2013 general election results, the BN would win back 7 state seats as a result of the 2016 delimitation exercise. These seats are N11 Ijok, N23 Dusun Tua, N43 Sementa, N44 Selat Klang, N46 Pelabuhan Klang, N51 Sijangkang and N53 Morib. At the same time, 6 state seats which were won by Pakatan win more than 54% of the popular vote in GE2013 have become marginal seats as a result of the delimitation exercise i.e. projected to win with less than 54% of the popular vote. These seats are N15 Taman Templer, N29 Seri Serdang, N33 Taman Medan, N38 Paya Jaras, N41 Batu Tiga and N49 Seri Andalas. Finally, 2 Pakatan state seats that were previously considered marginal are now even more marginal after the delimitation exercise namely N17 Gombak Setia and N18 Hulu Kelang (See Table 2 below).

    Selangor provides a clear example of how the Election Commission has abused its power and redrawn the boundary lines in order to benefit one side namely the Barisan Nasional. We must take all the necessary legal steps in order to ensure that this delimitation exercise is not approved.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • The Election Commission has no power to illegally conduct a delimitation exercise without going through proper constitutional procedures

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang on the 20th of July, 2016

    The Election Commission has no power to illegally conduct a delimitation exercise without going through proper constitutional procedures

    According to Article 113 (2) of the Federal Constitution, if the Election Commission wants to redraw the constituency boundaries of any seat via a delimitation exercise, be it at the parliamentary or at the state constituency level, it has to comply with the procedures and provisions contained in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution. This includes notifying the Speaker of the House and the Prime Minister, publishing a notification of the start of the delimitation in the Gazette as well as in a national newspaper.

    We have good reason to believe that the notice published in the Gazette on the 29th of April, 2016 listing the polling districts and polling centers for the federal and state constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia is actually a ‘delimitation by stealth’ illegal exercise conducted by the Election Commission.

    The Election Commission has the right to create new polling districts and to shift voters between polling districts within the same constituency as per Section 7 of the Elections Act 1958. But the EC does not have the right to shift voters from one constituency to another, be it at the state or federal level, unless it is in the context of a delimitation exercise.

    A blatant example of this illegal delimitation exercise conducted by the Election Commission is in the state seat of N6 Kuala Kubu Baru in the parliamentary seat of P94 Hulu Selangor in the state of Selangor. A total of 14 localities with 5590 voters were moved from the N7 Batang Kali state constituency (won by UMNO in GE2013 with a 5398 vote majority) to the N6 Kuala Kubu Baru state constituency (won by DAP with a 1702 vote majority) as a result of this illegal delimitation exercise. A total of 2 localities with 56 voters were moved from N6 Kuala Kubu Baru to N7 Batang Kali.[1] As a result, the number of voters in N6 Kuala Kubu Baru has increased from 21,186 in GE2013 to 26,720 which represents a whopping increase of 26.1%. At the same time, the number of voters in N7 Batang Kali has decreased from 43578 in GE2013 to 38044 representing a decrease of 12.7%. (See Table 1 below).

    We cannot help but to suspect that this is a strategy being used by the Barisan Nasional to win back the state of Selangor ‘by stealth’ via this illegal delimitation exercise.

    We call upon the Election Commission to revoke the effects of this illegal delimitation exercise and to return the electoral boundaries in Peninsular Malaysia to the boundaries which were used in the 2013 general elections.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament

    Federal Government Gazette: NOTICE OF POLLING DISTRICTS AND POLLING CENTRES FOR THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUENCIES OF THE STATES OF MALAYA

    “Illegal Delimitation: Effect on N6 KKB and N7 Batang Kali” (Powerpoint, 20 July 2016)

    [1] The figures are updated up to the Quarter Four (Q4) 2015 electoral roll.

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