The new electoral map segregating our population along ethnic lines will result in a more pronounced racial and religious divide among Malaysians, said Pusat Komas in a press statement yesterday.
Pusat Komas, a social justice NGO, is correct to be concerned that the coming election “now seems to be a tragedy waiting to happen where Malaysians are made to go against each other”.
The redrawn electoral boundaries for parliament and state seats were passed by Dewan Rakyat and became law yesterday. And just in time for GE14 too.
Among the most vociferous voices raised against the Election Commission’s report is Ong Kian Ming who is the DAP Serdang member of parliament.
His party and their allies in the opposition – 80 MPs in all – protested (below) the result of the parliamentary vote where 129 pro-establishment MPs had endorsed the re-delineation exercise.
Keputusan belah bahagi usul persempadanan semula hari ini:Setuju: 129 Tidak setuju: 80Bersedialah kita semua untuk #Pilihanraya #PRU14 yang JANJI PALING KOTOR DALAM SEJARAH MALAYSIA! #KalahkanPenipuan
Posted by Dr. Ong Kian Ming – 王建民 on 28hb Mac 2018
In his Dewan Rakyat speech on Wednesay (March 28), Ong said the latest delimitation or redrawing boundaries “segregates the races further and has reduced the number of heterogenous constituencies”.
Ong is DAP’s election strategist.
He highlighted the further racial polarization in parliament seats along the west coast where Pakatan Harapan MPs are the incumbents.
⇓ Penang Institute’s Wong Chin Huat says the EC is providing BN an advantage
Shifting Malay voters in, Chinese voters out
According to YB Ong Kian Ming, the redrawn Lumut constituency in Perak, as one example, will have 71 percent Malay voters when it used to have only 51 percent. Lumut’s Chinese electorate, on the other hand, now shrinks to 16 percent from 35 percent previously.
An explosion of 20 percent Malay voters is huge and will surely impact on the election outcome in Lumut.
“The delimitation exercise has made P74 Lumut into a significantly Malay majority parliament seat. It was contested by MCA in GE13. It is likely to be contested by Umno in GE14”, Ong suggested.
One of the electoral changes is the renaming of Selangor’s P107 seat which used to be called Subang. Now called Sungai Buloh, it will have 64 percent Malay and 23 percent Chinese voters. In the last election, P107 (known then as Subang) had 47 percent Malay and 38 percent Chinese voters.
Interestingly, all the Selangor constituencies that have been given new names in the latest delimitation exercise are the ones which went the opposition’s way in GE13. Of the 18 Selangor parliament seats affected by boundary changes, only two are BN’s.
Ong’s own constituency of Serdang, for instance, is being renamed Bangi. Kelana Jaya is renamed Subang and simultaneously Subang itself is renamed Sungai Buloh as already mentioned above.
Petaling Jaya Selatan takes the name Petaling Jaya and simultaneously Petaling Jaya Utara (Tony Pua’s seat) becomes Damansara – now the biggest seat in the country with an unbelievable 150,439 voters!
In contrast, Selangor’s rural Sabak Bernam seat held by Umno has a mere 37,126 voters.
With the new delimitation, Sungai Buloh’s Chinese segment of the electorate is reduced by 15 percent whereas the Malay segment has increased by 17 percent. Overall, the newly Malay-majority Sungai Buloh is however smaller (73,448 voters) than when this voting area used to be more multiracial and called Subang (129,846 voters).
“The delimitation exercise has made P107 Sungai Buloh into a Malay majority parliament seat. It was contested by MIC in GE13. It will likely be contested by Umno in GE14,” Ong posited.
In tandem, it has made the new Subang (formerly Kelana Jaya) a non Muslim and most concentrated Christian constituency. Subang Jaya has the most churches per capita in Malaysia, a scholar once quipped.
Another example cited by Ong to illustrate the change-in-ratio pattern, i.e. increasing the proportion of Malays, reducing the proportion of Chinese voters, is P124 in Kuala Lumpur.
P124 Bandar Tun Razak will now have 58 percent Malay (plus 6%) and 31 percent Chinese (minus 6%) compared to its racial balance back in GE13.
Ong predicts that Umno will take over this seat which was contested and lost by MCA the last few times around. A similar Malay expansion-Chinese contraction trend is seen in Kapar, a Selangor seat lost by MIC.
What Ong has described above are changes that will benefit the BN strategy of relieving Umno’s non-Malay allies of seats which are unwinnable by MCA and MIC but where the Malay party stands a fighting chance.
Racial segregation, religious concentration
An obverse to the pattern demonstrated by Ong is the EC’s manoeuvre to increase the proportion of Chinese voters in the staunchly pro-DAP constituencies while at the same time the proportion of Malay voters there is reduced.
This move dilutes the value of the Chinese vote. Consequently the already large Chinese-majority constituencies are now stretched super huge and jam packed like sardines on steroids.
Selangor is the state with the biggest electorate of 2.1 million voters.
The affected Selangor constituencies that have also been subjected to gerrymandering display a similar racial relocation. Ooi Kok Hin of Penang Institute shares his analysis of this technique:
“The townships (see map above) of Banting and Jenjarom are arbitrarily partitioned in zig-zag style between N51 Sijangkang, N52 Banting (now renamed Teluk Datuk) and N53 Morib. The arbitrary zig-zags appear to be motivated by gerrymandering,” said Ooi.
“The deliberate movement of voters saw N52 Banting receiving 5,760 electors from N53 Morib and 4,804 electors from N51 Sijangkang, who are mostly Chinese and expected to be pro-opposition while 7,365 electors – mostly Malays and expected to be supportive of the ruling regime – are transferred from N52 Banting to N51 Sijangkang.
“While three constituencies were previously won by the opposition, these changes result in the packing of N52 Banting into a super-stronghold for the opposition party DAP and cracking of N51 Sijangkang and N53 Morib to make them more winnable for the United Malays National Organisation (Umno).”
Bird’s eye view of the racial engineering
Tindak Malaysia, a group that has been monitoring recent elections, sums up our current situation saying the EC’s re-delineation report “will result in increased ethnic segregation as it packs different races into different constituencies”.
In other words, seats in the peninsula that were mixed or multiracial in the past are being made more mono ethnic – either strongly Malay majority or strongly Chinese majority, the latter particularly in highly urbanized areas.
The racial segregation is clear to see. What’s not apparent at first glance though is the corresponding religious segregation.
Seats won by Umno or PAS are Malay dominant, quite evidently. They are also Muslim. Equally evident, the DAP seats are dominated by non Malays. These voters are also non Muslim.
So what happens now?
DAP has made no bones about its ambition to wipe out the non-Malay components of BN, i.e. MCA, Gerakan and MIC. In fact, DAP is strategically placing its star powered challengers to wrest the few remaining seats still held by the MCA, Gerakan and MIC bigwigs that were won by BN with weak majorities five years ago.
Umno meanwhile is bidding to take (‘back’) Malay-majority seats that were traditionally conceded to MCA, Gerakan and MIC to contest.
The biggest GE14 losers will be MCA, Gerakan, MIC and PKR. The biggest winners will be (1) DAP capturing seats from the Chinese/Indian and multiracial parties as well as (2) Umno taking over Malay majority seats ‘loaned’ to its BN partners.
Social progressives will get what they’ve long been wishing for – the two-party system … Umno vs DAP. In real terms, this translates into Malay vs non Malay but remember that religion is a corollary to race.
Umno vs DAP also means Muslim vs Christian.