Election Commission deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar has conceded that the disproportionate sizes of certain electoral constituencies appears unjustifiable.
He, however, stressed that this was the work of the Election Commission 10 years ago, and that the present commission had no part in it.

wan ahmad wan omar front"I agree there are a few areas which are difficult to justify, for example Baling, which was decided as a rural constituency but has 70,000-plus voters, more than Alor Setar, an urban seat.

"It is difficult to justify, but we will definitely revise it as this was done in the 2002 redelineation exercise and now we have a different panel," he told reporters after a forum on the matter organised by the Bar Council.
Wan Ahmad explained at the forum that the committee that decides on the redelineation is made up of the EC chief, his deputy and its commissioners.

In 2002, he said, he was not a commissioner but the EC secretary, in charge of administrative affairs.

Responding to a question from the floor, he urged the public not to be "presumptuous" and judge the present panel on the work of the previous commission.

"You have not yet seen what the present panel will do. You want to make judgements on what it (the delineation based on the 2002 exercise) is today.

"The situation is different now. I am not a politician. You say it like I am part and parcel (of the ruling government)," he said.

Selangor to get new constituencies

Wan Ahmad said that what he knows for sure is that the EC will propose more new constituencies in Selangor due to the population boom in the state, in order to split large constituencies like Kapar that has over 140,000 voters.

azlanHe also said Putrajaya, which is the smallest constituency, cannot be compared to Kapar or other constituencies as the former was formed through an act of Parliament as an administrative capital.

"It is a bonus for anyone who wins that constituency. It will not be merged with neighbouring constituencies and will always remain on its own," he said.

On a separate matter, he said he cannot give a commitment that the EC will use the 15 percent variance of number of voters between constituencies in its exercise.

However, speaking to reporters, he clarified that the standard will be used as a “general guide”, but only between constituencies in the "same category".

"Meaning the urban seats will be compared with the urban seats, semi-urban with semi-urban and rural with rural.

“For example, (the 15 percent rule may be applied to) Shah Alam and Port Klang which are both urban," he said.
First Past the Post 'fairer'
On a change of electoral system from the First Past the Post (FPTP) to a Proportional Representation system, he said that the EC has undertaken a study as instructed by the previous Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

"We now plan to visit New Zealand to understand the mixed proportional representative system, as it is a country that had moved from the FPTP system," he said.

However, he said that he personally felt that the FPTP is more suitable for Malaysia saying it creates accountability.

He said that unlike the proportional system, where voters do not choose representatives for constituencies but vote for a party as a whole, voters here can hold an individual accountable for their needs.

"To me (the proportional representation system) is not yet suitable to Malaysia

"Until we come to a point where the state assembly is responsible for the entire state, we will never reach that level of thinking," he said.