Sabah, S’wak MPs call for redelineation exercise to add parliamentary seats

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Sabah and Sarawak MPs called on increasing the number of parliamentary seats for the two states in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Most of the MPs from the Bornean states who took part in the debate on the Royal Address were of the opinion that the redelineation of parliamentary constituencies should be implemented to bring about a balance in the composition of the distribution of seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

Datuk Rubiah Wang (GPS-Kota Samarahan) proposed that at least 28 more seats be added for the two states to achieve a one-third seat composition in Parliament.

“This matter is also important in the effort to protect the special privileges and recognition of Sabah and Sarawak as partners in the formation of Malaysia. In addition, there are very large parliamentary constituencies in Sabah and Sarawak,” she said during her debate.

Datuk Wilson Ugak Anak Kumbong (GPS-Hulu Rajang) interrupted her debate to support the proposal and called on the government to perform a redelineation exercise, especially in Sarawak.

Taking the example of the Hulu Rajang parliamentary constituency, Wilson described it as one of the largest in Malaysia.

Also supporting the idea was Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), who stated that the addition of seats was deemed necessary to achieve parity with Peninsular Malaysia in Parliament.

“We are talking about universal prosperity, regional equality, balanced development, but this (current scenario) is not balanced but rather one-sided. That’s right, there is no one-third (composition of seats currently), so I agree with the others on adding 28 parliamentary seats in these states,” he said.

Other MPs who raised the issue were Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat (GPS-Betong); Anyi Ngau (GPS-Baram); and Oscar Ling Chai Yew (PH-Sibu) who asked the Federal government to refine the proposed amendments to the addition of parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

Ling said the redelineation should be implemented based on population density rather than area.

“If the new demarcation is done, it should depend on the population and not the area, because the racial distribution in Sarawak is about a 30:30:30 ratio, namely Chinese, natives such as Iban and Dayak, as well as Muslims. So I suggest not to do the redelineation according to the size of the area.

“Urban areas are highly populated locations compared to rural areas. So I suggest that if one-third of the Parliamentary seats are given to Sabah and Sarawak, it should be based on the population, so that each person gets one vote,” he said.

Currently, out of a total of 222 parliamentary seats, 56 belong to the two states, namely Sabah with 25 and Sarawak with 31.

The board conference continues tomorrow.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency