by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and HP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, July 23, 1993:
Tsu Koon has given the Election Commission the excuse not to reduce further the disparity between urban and rural constituencies
The public display today of the new draft proposals by the Election Commission for the redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies has confirmed what I said in the Penang State Assembly on July 13 about, its effect on Penang State Assembly constituencies.
I had said in the Penang State Assembly on July 13 when introducing my private member’s bill to amend the Penang State Constitution to increase six additional state assembly constituencies that the public display of the new -draft, proposals for constituency redelineation would take place in ten days’ time.
I had also said that in the new draft proposals for constituency redelineation, the Election Commission has taken into consideration some but not all of the criticisms of the DAP.
For instance, the DAP had criticised the rural weightage of 150 per cent for Penang State in the previous draft proposals which was cancelled by the Election Commission when it was challenged by the DAP in court, where Sungai Dua has the lowest electorate of 10,, 006 voters while Air Itam had the highest, electorate with 25,043 voters.
This 150 per cent rural weightage is even higher than states like Johore, Trengganu, Negri Sembilan and Perils which have vast rural areas unlike Penang – which really does not have rural areas anymore.
As I told the Penang State Assembly on July 13, in the latest review of the constituency redelineation, this 150 per cent rural weightage has been reduced to 121 per cent, and as I told the Penang State Assembly on July 13, the constituency with the lowest, electorate is now Penaga with 10,407 voters while Air Hitam has a lesser electorate – though still the largest in the state – with 22,998 voters.
The DAP had -demanded that the rural weightage for Penang should not be more than 50 per cent, i.e. no constituency should have an electorate which is higher by more than 50 per cent when compared to another constituency in the state.
However, the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had given the Election Commission an excellent excuse not to further reduce the disparity between urban and rural areas, because he had suggested a 120 cent rural weightage for Penang.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon had announced that his official stand is that urban voter population per constituency on the island should be between 20,000 to 22,000 while the rural voter population per constituency on the mainland should be between 10,000 to 14,000. This means that Dr. Koh is advocating a rural weightage of 120 per cent.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should explain why he had obstructed the DAP’s efforts to have a fairer redelineation of the Penang state assembly constituencies where the rural weightage is not higher than 50 per cent, by giving the Election Commission an excellent excuse not to reduce any further such disparitv between urban and rural constituencies in the new draft proposals!