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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sabah polls rezoning

Kota Kinabalu: The Election Commission (EC) is in the early stages of preparing for a re-delineation of electoral boundaries for all states except Sarawak.

Its Secretary, Datuk Ngah Senik, said this is a normal procedure and according to legal requirements which dictates it be done every eight years.

The EC is given a period of five years to complete the whole process of re-delineation.

He said the process involves several stages and they are in the midst of holding workshops and courses for all officers and staff. "The process is the same, including for Sabah, in accordance to the legal requirement," he said, adding that among the reasons for a re-delineation is an increase in population.

On whether the re-delineation is expected to result in an increase in the number of the existing State and Parliamentary constituencies in Sabah, Ngah said that would depend on the agreements of all the parties concerned including the State Government.

"Let us do the study first and if there is need for that (increase in constituencies) then there will be," he said after presenting the 5S Quality Environment Practice Certification by the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) to the EC Sabah Office at Pacific Sutera Hotel, Friday.

On whether upgrading a sub-district to full district status may also affect the electoral boundary like Putatan's, Ngah said he would not know yet because many factors need to be taken into account in marking out an electoral boundary.

On whether the Home Ministry's move to speed up Malaysian citizenship, birth registration and entry permits by targeting to process all applications by end of this year may see an increase in voters in Sabah and Sarawak, Ngah said he could not answer because it is under the National Registration Department's jurisdiction.

"The country now has a total of 3.7million registered voters. And we are now going all-out to encourage those eligible but have yet to register to do so," he said.

He said some 260,000 people who are eligible have yet to register as voters in Sabah.

Meanwhile, on frequent complaints by certain quarters over the imbalance of the size and population of electoral boundaries between the urban and rural areas in Sabah, Ngah said the size of population between one constituency and another could not be the same.

He said so far the EC has not received any official request from any party in Sabah to make any adjustment to the current status of each constituency.


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