Sabah Bersih offers to aid challenges against new state seats

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PENAMPANG, Sept 16 — Bersih 2.0 will assist voters in Sabah with legitimate objections against the 13 newly created state seats, said chairman Beverly Joeman.

Joeman said that the state chapter of Bersih 2.0 has consistently objected to the addition of the 13 new state seats, but must respect the decision made by the majority of Sabah elected representatives at the last assembly sitting.

“We will be studying the new seats closely and will assist any party or members of the public who want to make objections in their constituencies based on the Constitution,” she said, adding that their team has already found several irregularities in the new delineation that could be construed as gerrymandering.

Among the examples pointed out by the electoral watchdog was the shifting of several voting areas indiscriminately and without knowledge or consent of the voters themselves.

They cited the new Tanjung Dumpil seat in Putatan, Tulid in Pensiangan and the voting station of Lido, in Kepayan, which was moved to Luyang, among the issues. She also said that the group took issue with the Election Commission’s public display of the delineation, saying that the map was not detailed enough to properly depict the new boundaries.

“We have always felt that this delineation has always been about strengthening the ruling party’s hold on Sabah and not for the benefit of voters or increase in voters as claimed.

“But please give us some time to properly analyse the seats before giving more details,” she said.

Yesterday the Sabah EC unveiled the new 13 state seats proposed as N.02 Bengkoka in the parliamentary constituency of Kudat, N.06 Mengaris in Kota Marudu, N.08 Pintasan in Kota Belud, N.13 Pantai Dalit in Tuaran, N.17 Darau in Sepanggar, N.24 Tanjung Dumpil in Putatan, N.27 Dambai in Papar, N.44 Tulid in Pensiangan, N.47 Telupid in Beluran, N.51 Sungai Manila in Libaran, N.58 Lamag in Kinabatangan, N.61 Segama in Silam, and N.70 Kukusan in Kalabakan.

The new seats bring the total to 73, up from 60. The last delineation in 2003 saw the addition of 12 seats.

On Bersih 2.0’s fifth street rally this year, she said that the state’s convoy from October 1 in Sandakan towards a public rally on 19 November in the state capital would consist of 26 pit stops all in all across the state.

“We are working on the details and will announce the hotspots in due time,” said Sabah Bersih advisor and former chairman Jannie Lasimbang.

Lasimbang, who is still facing court charges for last year’s rally in Sabah, said that they hoped for a bigger crowd and more support this year after demonstrating last year’s effort as a peaceful rally.

“We are still opening the rally up for all, including both government and opposition parties as we stand for clean and fair elections, and the reinstatement of Sabah rights,” she said.

Sabah Bersih is demanding for clean elections, government reforms, strengthening of parliamentary democracy, the right to dissent and the reinstatement of Sabah’s rights within the Malaysian federation.

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