by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, February 18, 1993:
Harun Din has failed to give any satisfactory explanation as to why the Election Commission had not waited for the amendments to the Federal and various State Constitutions to increase parliamentary and state assembly constituencies to become law before starting its constituency review process when it had advised Parliament and the State Assemblies to hold emergency meetings
The Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, has failed to give a satisfactory explanation for its legal and constitutional tangle resulting in the Election Commission acting illegally and unconstitutionally in the review and redelineation of electoral constituencies last November. It is clear that the full story of the Election Commission’s illegal and unconstitutional review and redelineation of the electoral constituencies has not been told.
Datuk Harun Din said in today’s press (Star – February 18) that from his reading of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act passed by both Houses of Parliament last October, the Election Commission had to use Article 113(3A) to conduct its review and redelineation.
He further said: “Also, there is a possibility the notices were invalid because under the amendment, the commission has to wait for all the states to approve the increase in state seats before undertaking the review.”
In the first place, according to the Minister for Law, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, the 1992 Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Dewan Rakyat on October 21 and by an emergency sitting of Dewan Negara on October 27 was at the recommendation of the Election Commission.
Is Datuk Harun Din seriously suggesting that the Election Commission did not read the 1992 Constitution Amendment Bill until the DAP had failed legal action to challenge the legality and constitutionality of its review and redelineation of electoral constituencies?
In fact, this would suggest misjudgement and ineptitude of even greater magnitude, for it not only reflect adversely on the Election Commission, but also on the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Minister for justice who moved the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat and the entire Cabinet for giving approval for the 1992 Constitution Amendment Bill.
Secondly, why did the Election Commission ask Parliament and the various State Assemblies
To hold emergency meetings to amend the Federal and State Constitutions to increase parliamentary and state assembly seats, if the Election Commission was not going to wait until these constitutional amendments had properly become law – getting the Royal Assent and being gazetted?
DAP has solid evidence that the Election Commission had signed and sealed all its recommendations on redelineation exercise by November 10, 1992
As I pointed out in my statement of claim and affidavit in my legal case against the Election Commission, although the gazetted notice of redelineation was dated November 26, the Election Commission had redelineation of electoral constituencies two weeks earlier on November 10, 1992.
The Election Commission had never dared to deny that it had signed and sealed all its recommendations on redelineation of electoral constituency exercises by November 10, 1992 as we have solid evidence which we are prepared to produce if contradicted. This is also why the Election Commission could not deny the DAP allegation that it had acted unconstitutionally in taking only two days (one of which was a Sunday) to complete its review of 165 Parliamentary and 452 State Assembly constituencies – which was clearly impossible!
However, when the Election Commission signed and sealed all its recommendations on the redelineation of electoral constituencies, not only were the State Constitution Amendment Bills of Johore, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Kelantan to increase state assembly constituencies had not yet become law, even the 1992 Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament had not yet become law as it was given the Royal Assent on November 6 and gazetted on November 19!
The question is: why didn’t the Election Commission wait for the constitutional amendments passed by the emergency meetings of Parliament and the various State Assemblies to become law before commencing on its redelineation review exercise? What is the cause for such an unholy and unconstitutional haste?
The real story must be found not in the Election Commission, but in power politics. I had said in the Penang State Assembly last December discussed the creation of 12 new UMNO divisions arising from the increase of 12 new parliamentary seats – well before the 1992 Constitution Amendment Bill was presented to Parliament.
Many people had expressed surprised at the outburst yesterday by the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling LIong Sik, who seemed to have ‘hit the MCA President’ over the DAP’s great and historic victory with the surrender by the Election Commission in the DAP’s case against it and the unprecedented cancellation of the redelineation exercise.
If Liong Sik ‘keeps quiet, nobody will regard him as dumb’!
Liong Sik ‘praised’ the Election Commission for committing its greatest political and constitutional scandal in history and its surrender to the DAP after challenging the DAP to take it to court on the legality and constitutionality of its redelineation exercise.
Nobody expects Liong Sik to ‘praise’ the DAP for our latest victory in defending and upholding the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians, but there is no need for him to go to the other extreme to ‘praise’ the Election Commission for making its greatest constitutional blunder in history.
In the greatest circumstances, if Liong Sik ‘keeps quiet, nobody will regard him as dumb’!
There is of course reason why Liong Sik wanted to ‘praise’ the Election Commission for its great blunder in history. This is because if the Election Commission need not be blamed for the great political and constitutional scandal of having to cancel its redelineation exercise, then Cabinet Ministers can also escape blame – as it was the Cabinet which finally gave endorsement to the Election Commission’s recommendations.
Liong Sik was guilty-conscious and was actually try to save his own skin when he made the outburst against me, for winning a historic victory for the democratic and constitutional rights of Malaysians in the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Tuesday without ‘having to battle’.
Liong Sik’s outburst yesterday is the latest proof that MCA leaders are just ‘yes-men’ and even their Ministers have been completely ‘marginalised’ in the Barisan Nasional government – who cannot say ‘no’ to UMNO leaders, but dare not even criticize government officials who have clearly committed great blunders.