See More on Facebook

Analysis, Politics

Malaysia’s redrawing of election map raises accusation of gerrymandering

Malaysía’s recently revealed electoral map has critics accusing the ruling party of drawing voting lines to increase its chances in the next election.


Written by

Updated: March 29, 2018

The Malaysian Election Commission’s redelineation report was passed in parliament on Wednesday amid much controversy and chaos which resulted in the suspension of opposition politician Lim Kit Siang.

The report proposes changes to 98 out of 165 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, The Star reported – changes that critics say will favour the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the country’s 14th general election.

Of the states mentioned in the report, only seats in the small, northern state of Perlis, which BN won by a more than two third majority in 2013, and Putrajaya, remain unchanged.

According to The Star, these changes range from the minor, such as a name change involving one vowel, to major ones where the boundaries of the seat have been redrawn to double its original size.

Selangor will be facing the most significant changes, according to analysts from electoral reform pressure groups.

Selangor, the country’s richest state, has been under the opposition’s control since 2004 but the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition seems keen to reclaim the jewel for itself.

The opposition alliance – formerly known as Pakatan Rakyat – has enjoyed strong support in the Selangor in the past, at one point even securing a two-thirds majority. But the parting of Malaysian Islamist party PAS from the coalition has significantly loosened its hold on the state.

Selangor has five name changes involving parliamentary seats and nine state seats which will have their names changed, according to The Star.

The boundaries of some of its seats will also be altered, with some seeing an increase in numbers of voters and others seeing a reduction.

Most significantly, the Petaling Jaya Utara seat, which will be renamed Damansara, will see its number of voters increase to approximately 150,439, the largest number of voters for any parliamentary seat, The Star reported.

The other Parliament seats from around the country which will see a significant amount of growth are Petaling Jaya Selatan, renamed Petaling Jaya, which will increase by 62.6%; Beruas (55.05%); Klang (40.33%); and Bukit Bintang (30.99%), The Star reported.

All the seats above are currently held by the Opposition.

Some seats will also shrink considerably.

According to The Star, the seat that will be most affected is the Subang seat (which is set to be renamed to Sungai Buloh), which will shrink by 42.86% or from 128,543 voters to 73,448 voters.

Other seats that will also shrink significantly are Hulu Langat (-34.86%), Lumut (-29.72%), Kapar (-26.38%), and Puchong (-22.72%).

These seats are also currently held by the Opposition.

Overall, of the 98 seats that will see changes, 36 were won in 2013 by Barisan while 62 were won by the Opposition.

According to the South China Morning Post, local electoral experts say the election commission pushes voters likely to vote for the opposition- urban voters and those belonging to certain ethnic minorities – into a few highly populated constituencies, while keeping the number of voters for each seat in rural, Malay-dominated areas – which typically favour BN – low.

Thus, a BN candidate often requires less votes to win the election than an opposition candidate.

Similar forces were thought to be at play in 2013, when the BN coalition managed to narrowly clinch the victory by bagging 133 of the 222 in parliamentary seats despite only winning only 47 per cent of the vote.

According to The Star, activist Wong Chin Huat, who has a doctorate in electoral systems from the University of Essex, said the average size of the parliamentary seats won by Barisan Nasional in the 2013 general election was about 48,000 voters while for the Opposition it was 79,000 voters.

The redelineation motion was strongly opposed by opposition politicians, and protestors gathered outside Parliament.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang was suspended after demanding an explanation on why the motion of redelineation was embargoed after it was kept on the tables of MPs last Thursday and repeatedly refusing to sit down and stop interrupting despite numerous warnings, The Star reported.

Despite the objections, the bill was rammed through parliament with 129 votes for and 80 against.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament after the redelineation motion was passed, Lim said that it would jeopardise the Opposition’s chances in the general election The Star reported.

“Definitely yes, but if there is a political tsunami nationwide, then I think we will overcome that,” he said, according to The Star.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Politics

What does Vietnam’s new cyber law mean for online dissent?

Will Facebook kowtow to the Vietnamese government to keep its market share. Facebook is in violation of a Vietnamese new cybersecurity law by allowing its users to post content critical of the communist government on its platform, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Wednesday of last week. The news came just days after the law went into effect on Jan. 1. The new legislation requires internet companies to comply with government demands to remove user-posted material it doesn’t like. The law also stipulates that information technology companies—Facebook and Google for instance—may be required to set up local offices and store customer data domestically, a feature which human rights advocates worry might make it easier for the government to track and charge dissidents for their online activities. This new legislation follows a pattern of increasing digital scrutiny by th


By Quinn Libson
January 15, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Fugitive Jho Low says no connection between 1Mdb and China

Jho Low rubbishes Wall Street Journal report about China’s alleged role in 1MDB probe. Fugitive businessman Jho Low has dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal linking China to Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB as “a continuation of a trial by media” led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Journal said in a report on Monday (Jan 7) that senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB, which is at the centre of a swelling, multi-billion-dollar graft scandal. The report cited minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations


By The Straits Times
January 10, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday. Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement. Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King. “The rulers att


By The Straits Times
January 8, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Seat belt warning as storm clouds loom in 2019

A look at potential headlines in 2019 by the Straits Times’ Warren Fernandez. You have been here before. As you settle into your comfortable seat for the long flight ahead, a voice crackles from the cockpit. “Our flying time today will be 12 hours, 40 minutes, and we expect a smooth journey ahead, but there looks to be some pockets of turbulence along the way,” your captain says, sounding vaguely assuring. “We suggest you keep your seat-belt on.” So was said on my recent Singapore Airlines flight home from holidaying abroad. It prompted several hours of meandering musings from 30,000 feet in the air about what lies ahead in the New Year. Some of the storm clouds that appear to loom on the political horizon include: 1. US-China: rivalries among frenemies Three recent developments sum up the precarious state of relations between the world’s two main powers, now on a tentative


By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Taiwan’s ruling party DPP elects moderate as new chairman

The by-election comes after a disastrous local election cycle where the pro-independence party lost heavily. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected a new chairman on Sunday (Jan 6), choosing a moderate to fill up the post vacated by President Tsai Ing-wen after the party’s disappointing performance in recent polls. Mr Cho Jung-tai, a consensus candidate backed by major party figures, took 72.6 per cent or 24,699 of the ballots cast by party members, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). The former Cabinet secretary-general comfortably defeated Mr You Ying-lung, an openly pro-independence rival who supported a re


By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019