Khairuddin Aman Razali’s call to redraw the election boundaries in a way that will benefit Malays and Muslims smacks of racial and religious electoral apartheid, said Lim Guan Eng.
The DAP secretary-general said that PAS’ unequivocal admission means that the Islamist party through the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is willing to gerrymander constituencies at the expense of non-Malays and non-Muslims.
“Already the rights of non-Malays and non-Muslims are being threatened under a PN government that uses race and religion to keep its tenuous hold on power.
“To make such a divisive and irresponsible declaration of intent to discriminate, deprive and deny the rights of non-Malays and non-Muslims, is both racist and a religiously extremist.
“It also contradicts the fundamental democratic principle of equal representation and value of ‘one-person, one-vote’, a clear and present danger to our Malaysian identity and nation-building,” Lim said in a statement today.
Khairuddin yesterday said that boundaries of parliamentary constituencies could be changed to benefit Malay-Muslims if PAS and its allies win the next general election with a two-thirds majority.
The PAS central committee member said it would take the cooperation of three Malay parties – PAS, Bersatu and Umno – to turn that dream into a reality.
“There are long-term (needs) that require us to win the next general election with a two-thirds majority. (Upon achieving this) the electoral boundaries need to be changed to benefit Muslims.
Based on Article 113(2)(ii) of the Federal Constitution, Parliament can pass new election boundaries without the approval of two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat.
Electoral boundaries for Sarawak cannot be changed until 2023, followed by Sabah in 2025 and Peninsular Malaysia in 2026.
Khairuddin’s suggestion that a two-thirds majority was needed possibly signalled that PAS intends to amend the Federal Constitution.
Earlier today, PKR youth said any attempt to change election boundaries as suggested by PAS is just to keep the party and its allies in power.
“This so-called ‘to benefit the Malay Muslim’ is simply political propaganda. The fact is this gerrymandering is for PAS and its allies to stay in power.
“This opens the door to manipulation of the country’s democratic system and has the potential to plunge Malaysia into a serious democratic crisis,” PKR youth chief Akmal Nasir said in a statement today.
Lim, who is Bagan MP, said Khairuddin’s ambition to change the electoral boundaries to benefit Muslims and increase the number of parliamentary seats in Malay-majority areas is clearly unconstitutional and that nothing in the federal constitution allows constituencies to be re-delineated based on race and religion.
He said such a move will make Malaysian democracy a mockery.
“Schedule 13 of the Malaysian constitution specifically prohibits malapportionment and gerrymandering of electoral boundaries. Whilst there may be a need to give some allowance to rural areas due to their geographic size and remoteness, there already exists severe malapportionment where voters in rural areas have greater voter weightage of up to seven times more compared to urban counterparts.
“Now, PAS wants to put in an additional perversion to the value of one-person one-vote and principle of equal representation in a democracy, by lashing on the toxic mix of race and religion.
“This alarming future of electoral racial and religious apartheid will make Malaysian democracy a mockery,” he said.
Lim’s claims are borne out by parliamentary seats such as Bangi, Subang and Damansara, where victorious MPs Ong Kian Ming, Wong Chen and Tony Pua garnered more than 100,000 votes each in scoring sweeping majorities. In contrast, seats in rural Malay-majority areas such as Arau in Perlis are significantly smaller, with less than 40,000 voters casting ballots in GE14.
Lim said that Khairudin’s extremist objective will be rejected by all right-thinking and justice-loving Malaysians, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.