Indian majority constituency?

November 13th, 2011 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I think this is a ineffective proposal. Even if you have few majority Indian constituencies, you still will be one of the 222 elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat. The rights and issues won’t be championed just because there’s majority constituencies in few areas. The problem goes beyond this as its a mindset of many years of imbalance. I believe even if its a 5% voters in a constituency, it can still make a difference, especially in current scenario where there are many political factions and voter sentiments.

Even if any issues are raised (assuming the speaker allows them), what are the chances of getting a fair hearing and debate if the rest of your peers are not interested?

Another option would be to provide representation for minority communities at Dewan Rakyat level, in addition to the Dewan Negara.

However, they have correctly highlighted the gerrymandering exercise that resulted in a distorted representation in the parliament. I would agree if some of the realignment of constituencies address the problem of gerrymandering as mention by HRP, which may result in creating constituencies with higher Indian voters than present.

The more important thing is for the community to stay united. The better thing for HRP/Hindraf to do would be voter education and constitution awareness. Perhaps they should go on roadshows focusing on this. and also focus on their NGO role. Can work along groups like MyConstitution to get Tamil (and other dialects) version booklets out.

The Human Rights Party (HRP) today proposed to the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform that there be at least 53 constituencies where Indians make up a significant majority of voters.

Presenting their views, its pro-tem secretary general, P Uthayakumar (right), said this is because the voter make-up in present state and parliament constituencies make Indian voters the minority and as such their rights are not championed in the assembly houses.

HRP called for at least 15 new parliament seats and 38 state assembly seats which are “at least 70 percent Indian majority, with 20,000 voters for parliament and 10,000 for state assembly seats”.

This was, however, rebutted as “backward” by committee member Dr Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) who said that Malaysia should strive to see “any candidate able to stand in any constituency regardless of its voters’ racial make-up”.

But this was contested by Uthayakumar, who said that if Malay and Chinese politicians champion Indian and minority issues, there would be no need for the formation of such constituencies.

“In leading democracies, the majority bend over backwards to lend their voice to the minority,” said the leader of the party, which has its roots in the Hindraf movement.

‘Neglect Indians to our peril’

Uthayakumar’s statement was also not received well by Fong Chan Onn (BN-Alor Gajah) who said that Indian issues do not get overlooked as this would be to a politician’s peril.

“In my constituency, Indian voters make up 15 percent of the voters while in Rasah it is more than 20 percent. We take these voters very seriously. Candidates would probably not be elected if they neglect the poor and needy of other communities,” he said.

However, the HRP chief replied that if Indian issues were prioritised then the 54 HRP activists arrested for demonstrating to highlight such issues would have their charges dismissed like those arrested in the lead-up to and during the Bersih 2.0 rally.

“(Those arrested in relation to Bersih 2.0) are not prosecuted… because Malay and Chinese politicians brought up the issue in parliament and placed pressure,” he said.

Uthayakumar also alleged that 300,000 Indians are “denied identity cards, birth certificates and citizenship”, but this was refuted by a National Registration Department official present, who said that their outreach programmes find that the numbers are far lower.

To this, the HRP secretary-general said that they currently about 200 applications which have the NRD Putrajaya office has failed to process despite multiple attempts to register.

“All sorts of excuses were given… the NRD should advertise their outreach programmes in newspapers and set up a hotline,” he said.



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