KOTA KINABALUSeptember 6, 2011: Re-delineation or increasing the number of seats is best done after the next general election, said Sabah Election Commission (EC) director Datuk Md Idrus Ismail.
However, he said the EC is currently doing preliminary studies on the call by politicians in the state, especially on the population at each area.
“The study covers the whole of Sabah and not just limited to certain areas,” he said when contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday.
Although he understood there was a pressing need for re-delineation or additional parliamentary and state seats in Sabah, Md Idrus said it would be best decided after the general election.
“For one, the ruling government does not have a two-third majority in Parliament. For re-delineation or additional of the parliamentary seats be done, it needs to be passed in Parliament, but without the strength, it is not possible. So for this issue, we will have to wait until the next election, and whoever has the two-third majority will then be able to make the decision.
“As for the state seats, Sabah has no problem but we still need to get the approval from the state government as stipulated under Section 13 of the Federal Constitution,” Md Idrus explained.
He said everyone is talking about the election, so is the EC.
“We are currently tuning towards running the election. We are preparing ourselves by training our personnel and it is expected to begin in November. We have also submitted our request for logistic purposes, such as what we need and materials to be used in the next general election.
“It is better to do one job at a time. We cannot be doing the study and conduct preparations for the coming election at the same time, it can be quite messy.
“Let’s say if EC decides to do the re-delineation tomorrow, we have to first gazette the date and finalise it by getting the Prime Minister’s signature within the next two years. Our next general election is maturing soon so I do not think it is in time for the next polling day,” he said.
Md Idrus added that to date, three political parties had made official requests to the Sabah EC to propose for the re-delineation or additional seats.
“Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) has basically requested us to do the study in Keningau, Pensiangan and Tenom; Umno Kinabatangan requests the exercise be done in their area, while the United PasokMomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organisation (Upko) wants us to conduct the study covering the whole of Sabah,” he said.
On another development, Md Idrus urged those who have yet to register themselves as voters to do so soon.
“The safest time would be this month as September is the last month for the third quarter revision for this year. We need some time to verify the applications and normally the names will be gazetted by late October or early November.
“For those who register after September, the names will only be gazetted in February. And by then, it would be difficult to make changes, if there is any,” he said.