by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, March 20, 1993:
DAP leaders seeking meeting with Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, on his request for a further constitutional amendment by Parliament to allow the Commission to undertake electoral constituency redelineation
Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, has at last admitted (Nanyang Siang Pao today) that the cancellation of the redelineation exercise for parliamentary and state assembly constituencies has adversely affected the image of the Election Commission as well as wasted public funds.
However, Datuk Harun Din still maintained that the cancellation of the constituency redelineation exercise had nothing to do with my legal challenge taking the Election Commission to the Kuala Lumpur High Court for conducting an illegal and unconstitutional exercise, but was the result of a ‘technical oversight’ by Parliament in enacting the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act to increase 12 new Parliamentary constituencies.
I understand that the Government has agreed to present a new Constitution Amendment Bill in the next Parliamentary meeting from April 26 to May 20 to repeal Section 3 of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act (Act A837) to enable the Election Commission to carry out redelineation of electoral constituencies for Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
Nobody believes that Section 3 of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act is the cause for the unprecedented cancellation of the constituency redelineation exercise by the Election Commission.
If Section 3 is such a big culprit, then Malaysians have a right to know who were the persons and agencies responsible for drafting Section 3, why the Election Commission did not discover such a ‘technical oversight’ earlier before it was passed by Parliament in three readings, and why the Cabinet and Parliament were so careless as not to discover it before it became law.
Election Commission wants to repeal Section 3 of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act for face-saving purpose to claim that the cancellation of the redelineation exercise is not because of the DAP legal suit
I maintain that Section 3 does not pose an obstacle for a legal and constitutional redelineation of the electoral constituencies by the Election Commission, and its repeal is completely unnecessary.
All that the repeal of Section 3 would achieve is to give the Election Commission an honourable justification for the cancellation of the constituency redelineation exercise, so that the Election Commission does not have to admit that the cancellation is because of the DAP legal suit which would have proved that the Election Commission had acted illegally and unconstitutionally in the redelineation exercise.
Section 3 of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act is in fact an enabling provision empowering the Election Commission to take into account the increase of 12 new parliamentary seats by Parliament to undertake a constituency redelineation exercise both under Article 113(2) as well as under Article 113(3A).
There is no need therefore to repeal it in a special constitution amendment bill to be presented to the next parliamentary meet¬ing.
Before the government presents another constitution amendment bill to Parliament, it should invoke Article 130 of the Federal Constitution and refer to the Supreme Court for an authoritative interpretation of the meaning of Section 3 of the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act, as to whether it needs to be repealed if the Election Commission is to be able to carry out a constituency redelineation exercise.
It would be most ridiculous and makes a complete mockery of Parliament if MPs had to enact another constitution amendment bill not because it is necessary, but to give the Election Commission a face-saving measure for its scandalous cancellation of the unconstitutional electoral constituency redelineation exercise.
Under the Malaysian Constitution, the Election Commission should be independent so as to command public confidence. It should not be a tool of the ruling parties or even the government, but must be guided by its constitutional mandate to conduct free and fair general elections, which includes the fair and democratic redelineation of electoral constituencies.
For this reason, DAP leaders will be seeking a meeting with the Election Constitutional Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, on the Election Commission’s request for another constitutional amendment by Parliament to enable it to conduct the redelineation of the electoral constituencies.
If the Election Commission officials are not prepared to meet Opposition leaders, but would only meet leaders from the ruling parties and the Government, then it has lost all claim to be an inde-pendent Commission and would forfeit all respect and confidence of the country.