Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Panglima Garang Branch Anniversary dinner held in Panglima Garang, Selangor on Friday 16th April 1993 at 8p.m.
DAP leader to meet Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, next Friday on the redelineation of electoral constituencies
DAP leaders will meet the Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, next Friday on the redelineation of electoral constituencies.
Last week, Datuk Harun Din had reiterated that the Election Commission would resume its redelineation exercise in June after Parliament had amended Article 113 of the Constitution, and that it could make public its proposed redelineation about two weeks after the Dewan Negara had endorsed the constitutional amendments.
DAP leaders are seeking a meeting with the Election Commission Chairman because the Election Commission has failed to make a convincing case that it could not lawfully and constitutionally under-take an electoral constituency redelineation exercise unless the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act is further amended.
The illegality and unconstitutionality of the Election Commission’s electoral constituency redelineation exercise which was gazette last November – resulting in the DAP legal challenge and the Election Commission’s ‘surrender’ by cancelling the exercise in a gazette notification a few days before the hearing of the DAP case in the Kuala Lumpur High Court in February – has nothing to do with the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act.
The illegality and unconstitutionality of the Election Commission’s electoral constituency redelineation exercise last November was because the Election Commission had violated the Malaysian Constitution in starting on the exercise before the lapse of the minimum period of eight years from the previous redelineation; violating the constitutional stipulation that the Election Commission should be independent and not subject to the political directives or dictates of the government or ruling parties and the violation of the democratic principle of one-man one-vote.
DAP maintains that the Election Commission can lawfully and constitutionally undertake an electoral constituency redelineation exercise without any amendment to the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act.
I have now been informed that the various State Assemblies which had held emergency meetings in October or November last year to increase the State Assembly seats had also been asked to amend their respective 1992 State Constitution amendment Enactments.
The first State assembly to do so will be the Kedah State Assembly meets tomorrow, and which has before it the Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment Bill 1993.
This is just a one-paragraph amendment to sub-section (2) of Clause 2 the 1992 Kedah State Constitution Amendment Enactment, which increase the 28 Kedah State Assembly seats to 36.
Unless the 1993 Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment Bill is withdrawn tomorrow, the Kedah State Government and Kedah State Assembly will become laughing stocks in Malaysia
Clause 2(2) of the 1992 Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment reads:
“(2) Article 45 of the Laws of the Constitution of Kedah, as amended by subsection (1), shall not affect the composition of the Legislative Assembly or any election to the said Legislative Assembly, until the dissolution of the said Legislative Assembly occurring on or after the date of the coming into force of the Order made under section 12 of the Thirteenth Schedule to the Federal Constitution following the review under-taken pursuant to Clause (3A) of Article 113 of the federal Constitution and the said Thirteenth Schedule.”
Tomorrow, the Kedah State Assembly will be asked amend Clause 2(2) of the State Constitution amendment by deleting the words “following the review undertaken pursuant to Clause (3A) of Article 113 of the Federal Constitution and the said Thirteenth Schedule”.
The Explanatory Statement appended to the 1993 Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment Bill gives the following reason for this proposed amendment:
“This Bill seeks to amend Section 2 of the Laws of the Constitution of Kedah (Amendment) Enactment 1992 to enable the review of the constituencies to be made in accordance with any one of the Clauses to Article 113 of the Federal Constitution as Election Commission deems necessary. Under the existing provision the review is required to be carried out in accordance with Clause (3A) of Article 113 of the Federal Constitution.”
The Kedah Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Haji Osman Aroff, and the Kedah State Government have clearly been wrongly advised to table the Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment Bill 1993.
The Kedah State Government should withdraw the Kedah State Constitution (Amendment) Enactment Bill 1993 when the Kedah State Assembly sits tomorrow, or the Kedah State Government and State Assembly will become laughing stocks in Malaysia.
This is because only people who are thorough ignorant of the Federal and State Constitutions could have tabled or enact such an amendment bill.
It is most shocking that the Kedah Mentri Besar and the Kedah State Government do not seem to understand the meaning of Article 113(3A) of the Malaysian Constitution with regard to electoral constituency redelineation.
Article 113(3A) reads:
“3a. (i) Where the number of elected members of the House of Representatives is altered in consequence of any amendment to Article 46, or the number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of a State is altered in consequence of a laws enacted by the Legislature of a State, the Election Commission shall under-take a review of the division into federal or State constituencies, as the case may be, of the area which is affected by the alteration, and such review shall be completed within a period of not more than two years from the date of the coming into force of the law making the alteration.”
The Explanatory Statement of the 1993 Kedah State Constitution Enactment (Amendment) Bill has no constitutional basis, and is completely wrong, when it said that its purpose is to allow the Election Commission to undertake a redelineation exercise “as it deems necessary”, even without complying with Clause (3A) of Article 113.
Such a state constitutional enactment is unconstitutional as it is contrary to the Malaysian Constitution, which it obligatory and mandatory on the Election Commission to undertake the redelineation in accordance with Article 113(3A) and no other clause where there has been a change in the number of state assembly seats – and this is why Article 113(3A) uses the words,”…the Election Commission shall undertake…” and not “may”.
The Election Commission should explain whether it has asked the Kedah State Government as well as all the government of all other states which had amended their state constitutions last year to increase their state assembly seats to make this amendment. This is very pertinent as the Election Commission has claimed that the 1992 Constitution Amendment Act passed by Parliament in October last year was drafted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers without consultation or even knowledge of the Election Commission.
If the 1993 amendment to the various State Constitutions is at the initiative of the Election Commission, does it mean that the Election Commission will have to wait until all these State Assemblies had made such a most unconstitutional amendment to their state constitutions before it could start another redelineation exercise?
If this is the case, then the Election Commission would not be able to undertake a fresh redelineation exercise in June, as the various State Assemblies concerned would not be able to enact new constitutional amendments until well after July.
The redelineation of electoral constituency exercise is becoming more and more messy and scandalous – all because of the failure of the Election Commission to observe its independence to carry out its constitutional tasks to conduct free and fair general elections (including the redelineation of constituencies) without any political interference, fear or favour.