Report: BN-era Bill to add Sabah state assembly seats could re-emerge

Mohd Shafie reportedly requested that Dr Mahathir table a Bill aimed at increasing Sabah's state assembly seats. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Mohd Shafie reportedly requested that Dr Mahathir table a Bill aimed at increasing Sabah's state assembly seats. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — A previously shelved Bill aimed at increasing Sabah's state assembly seats from 60 to 73 may be tabled in Parliament this month, according to The Star.

In a report, sources told the newspaper that the proposal for the 13 new state seats, which was put on hold by the previous Barisan Nasional government, has now been approved for tabling for this current Parliament session.

“It could be expected to be tabled next week during the current Parliament meeting,” the source reportedly said.

The report added that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal requested Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to table the Bill.

In August 2016, the Sabah state legislative assembly passed an amendment to the state Constitution to allow for the 13 new seats to be created, which was gazetted after the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri consented to it.

The Election Commission (EC) then submitted the proposal for the creation of the seats in 2017 to then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for tabling in Parliament.

However, it never came to fruition before the 14th general election.

Another source told The Star that the EC, under its new boss Azhar Azizan Harun, had resubmitted the same proposal to Dr Mahathir late last year as it must be tabled within two years of Sabah’s gazetting the amendment.

The source said that the Bill only requires a simple majority in Parliament and if is passed, the EC could begin the process of creating the 13 new seats.

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