PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) does not have the right to correct electoral boundaries without Parliament’s approval, said law experts.
The Bar Council’s constitutional law committee chief, Syahredzan Johan, said the EC had acted ultra vires with the Election Act 1958 and acted beyond its jurisdiction.
He was commenting on the moving of 31,294 voters from Petaling Jaya Selatan to the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency in the latest border revision.
“The EC has relied on Section 7 of the Act which only mentions the alteration of polling districts within a constituency, not the power to move electorates to a different constituency. Therefore, Section 7 does not give the EC the power to do so,” Syahredzan told The Malay Mail.
“If you are moving the voters to a different constituency, that amounts to a delimitation exercise, for which the Federal Constitution has provided specific procedures. This cannot be done on whims and fancies.”
He said the EC must hold a public inquiry and acquire a simple majority in Parliament to begin the boundary delimitation process.
The EC had explained on its website that a boundary correction exercise was provided under the election laws and “correcting electoral boundaries without moving the actual location of the voter” among changes allowed under Section 7 of the Act.
Syahredzan said that the section only stipulated the delimitation exercise and establishing polling centres.
“Section 7 (1) is on dividing a constituency into polling districts after the delimitation exercise has been conducted. Why are they suddenly doing this when the last delimitation exercise was conducted from July 2002 to May 2003?
“Section 7 (2) is about the alterations of polling districts. If the EC is saying that it is relying on Section 7 then it does not give them powers to move the boundary.”
He also said that the affected residents must challenge the EC’s decision because it was unconstitutional.
PKR had contended the EC had acted illegally when it moved the 31,294 voters from Petaling Jaya Selatan to the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency in the border revision.
The border correction exercise had resulted in Petaling Jaya’s Section 16 to be under Kuala Lumpur instead of Selangor.
EC explained, last week, that it had mistakenly delineated Section 16 into Petaling Jaya Selatan when it should be part of Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, in the official state boundaries.