• 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.

  • By-election analysis: How can Malaysia’s Opposition create another Ijok?

    How to create another Ijok? 

    Article by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, 27 June 2016

    A week has now passed since the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar twin by-elections on the 18th of June, 2016. Much commentary and analysis has been written regarding the results. Having read through most of them, I hope to set the by election results in the larger context of by-elections which have taken place since the 1999 general elections. By doing so, I hope that we identify the factors which are important for Pakatan Harapan to take into account moving forward and some of the issues which are perhaps not as important in the larger scheme of things.

    There have been a total of 42 by elections since the 1999 general elections – 8 between 1999 and 2004, 6 between 2004 and 2008, 16 between 2008 and 2013 and 12 since the 2013 general elections. (See Table 1 below) The incumbent party won 34 out of 42 by-elections (81%). Of these 34 by-elections, 22 were in BN held seats and 12 were in opposition held seats. In other words, unless there are unique circumstances, the incumbent, which is BN in most cases, will usually win by-elections.

    Of the remaining 8 by-elections where the incumbent party was defeated, the BN emerged victors in 5 seats (the Pendang parliament seat in 2002 after the death of former PAS president Fadzil Noor, the Pengkalan Pasir state seat in Kelantan in 2005, the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat in 2010, the Galas state seat in Kelantan in 2010 and most recently, the Teluk Intan parliament seat in 2014).

    The opposition only managed to turn the tide to create an upset 3 times – in the Lunas state seat in Kedah in 2000, in the Kuala Terengganu parliament seat in 2009 and in the Sibu parliamentary seat in 2010.

    In other words, it was very unlikely that the opposition would pull of an upset in either Sungai Besar or Kuala Kangsar when we examine the history of by-elections since 1999.

    Of course, the presence of a three corner fight in both seats made it all but impossible for the opposition to capture either seat given that the pro-opposition votes were split between PAS and AMANAH.

    The 3 corner fights in both seats which led to a big increase in BN’s majority masks the fact that BN’s vote share increased by only 3.5% in Sungai Besar and 3.6% in Kuala Kangsar. It is not unusual to see BN increase its vote share during by-elections where specific promises can be made to voters in the respective constituencies whether it is in the form of a new community center (in Jerlun, Kuala Kangsar) or to promise to allow fishermen in Sungai Besar to employ more foreign workers. In fact, in the 22 by elections won by BN incumbents, BN’s vote share increased by an average of 5.5%. BN’s vote share increased in 18 of these by-elections (compared to the general election) and decreased in only 3 (with one seat being previously uncontested during the general election).

    This does not mean that the opposition has no chance to win these seats in the next general election or to win other seats that are currently being held by the BN. One can look to the example of the Ijok by-election held on the 28th of April 2007. The MIC candidate won this seat with an increased vote share (from 55.8% to 58.6%, an increase of 2.8%) during this by-election. But less than a year later, in the 2008 general election, this result was turned on its head and the PKR candidate (former MB, Khalid Ibrahim) won this seat with 56.8% of the vote. The question and the challenge for Pakatan Harapan is this: How do we create the conditions for the Ijok experience to be repeated nationwide in the next general election?

    I fully admit that the challenges faced by Pakatan Harapan in the lead up to GE14 are far more serious compared to when the opposition sprung an unexpected surprise on the BN in GE12. The objective in GE14 is to capture Putrajaya compared to when the best the opposition could hope for in GE12 was to deny the BN a two thirds control of parliament. The opposition is divided both externally (PH and PAS) and internally. But I do believe that if we address three main challenges, this would make capturing Putrajaya a distinct possibility rather than what many perceive to be an impossible task as things stand right now.

    Firstly, Pakatan Harapan needs to be strengthened as an opposition coalition. This means that there cannot be any 3 corner fights featuring component parties of PH like what happened in the recent Sarawak state elections. Many of our supporters were very critical of the decision by both PKR and DAP to field candidates in 5 state seats in Sarawak. Most voters were not interested in the internal dynamics of what led to this decision or the fact that multi-corner fights were avoided in the other 77 state seats. What they wanted to see was a united PH going up against the BN. While pro PH voters were more accepting of the 3 corner fights in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar (since it involved PAS, who is not a member of the PH coalition), there were still critics who said that PH was not giving voters the impression that it was campaigning together. This impression has to be overturned and a new spirit or ‘semangat’ of PH needs to be created in the run-up to GE14 if we are to have any chance of defeating the BN.

    Secondly, PH needs to create a compelling alternative narrative or narratives to voters who want change. Some commentators opined that the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar campaigns were too focused on national issues such as 1MDB and the GST and not enough attention were being paid to local issues. In the same vein, some commentators also said that PH should provide concrete alternative policies to the BN rather than just criticizing the BN on issues of corruption and abuse of power. Having been at the Sungai Besar campaign for about a week, I can safely say that local issues to do with paddy production and subsidies as well as fishermen issues were brought up by the AMANAH candidate as well as by the various PH leaders via ceramahs, press conferences and hand phone messages. Also having been part of the policy team in Pakatan Rakyat and now Pakatan Harapan, I can also safely say that most voters get bored when one talks about policy issues whether in ceramahs or even in press statements. What voters want is to have confidence that PH can govern effectively as a coalition. The policy positions have to be discussed and then announced together over a sustained period of time in order to create this confidence that PH is a cohesive coalition capable of overcoming their internal differences to govern together. And these policy positions will then form the compelling alternative narratives to the BN’s platform. I say narratives because there needs to be targeted messages and positions for the rural as well as the urban audience, for voters in Peninsular Malaysia as well as for voters in Sabah and Sarawak.

    Which leads me to the third and final point – that PH needs to use Penang and Selangor as showcase how the coalition can govern together and govern well. The impression that the Penang state government is a DAP government and that the Selangor government is a PKR government needs to be dispelled. Policies which reflect the aspirations of the rakyat at the national level needs to be pushed through and showcased as concrete examples of a PH government at the federal level can govern better than the BN.

    Overcoming these three challenges are necessary but not sufficient conditions for PH to reach its goal of capturing Putrajaya. We still have to deal with the elephant in the room which is how to deal with PAS. But that is a matter for a separate discussion and perhaps it is an issue which PH has little control over at the end of the day. But first, let’s focus on getting our own house in order. Only then do we have hope to create another Ijok in the run-up to GE14.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • Najib should ask for those who attempt to bribe voters to be investigated under the Election Offences Act 1954

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 4th of May, 2016 in Simanggang, Sri Aman

    Najib should ask for those who attempt to bribe voters to be investigated under the Election Offences Act 1954

    I like, many of my friends, were shocked by the irony of Najib’s ‘advice’ to the residents of Jegai Anak Jawa Long House in Kampung Purai, Undop (under the N32 Simanggang state seat) when he paid a visit yesterday (3rd May 2016). He asked that the voters must not sell their rights for money.[1] It is an ironic piece of advice since it is a well-known and well reported BN practice for bags of cash to be distributed to many longhouses the day before polling day in order to buy votes.[2]

    This time, it was the BN candidate for N32 Simanggang, Francis Harden, who accused one of the other candidates for offering voters RM100 before polling day and RM200 after polling day if he is successfully elected. Najib was reported to have said, “They (voters) must think of long term development in their areas and not look for short term gains by selling their votes to those willing to offer money.”

    It is clearly stated under the Elections Offences Act 1954, Section 10, that any attempts to bribe voters using cash and offers of cash is illegal. When the BN candidate made these accusations, Najib should have responded by asking for a police report to be made and for investigations to be conducted to see if any election offences have been committed.

    What is the real reason behind Najib’s supposed ignorance? Is it because the BN will offer an even larger amount to the voters in N32 Simanggang before polling day? If the voters of N32 Simanggang and Sarawak wants real and sustainable development, they should vote for a strong opposition candidate from a strong opposition party who put pressure on the Sarawak state government to spend the resources of the state wisely and transparently.   I therefore urge the voters of N32 Simanggang to vote for the DAP candidate, Leon Jimat Donald.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://english.astroawani.com/politics-news/voters-must-not-sell-their-rights-money-najib-104377 and http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v8/bm/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1241541

    [2] http://www.kuangkeng.com/2014/08/16/sarawak-rural-vote-under-grip-of-money-intimidation/, https://sarawaknews.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/camapign-to-reject-vote-buying-candidates/, https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/161534

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