In a move to prepare ahead of the re delineation exercise by Election Commission next year BERSIH organised a workshop today at Garden Hotel to look into possible responses to that EC’s move which could jeopardize Malaysia’s 2-party future. 2 issues of concern were raised: mal-apportionment (manipulating sizes of constituencies) and gerrymandering(manipulating the boundaries of constituencies).
To counter mal-apportionment there is a ready argument to ensure 1-man-1-vote, which however run counter to the well accepted idea of giving rural weightage. Compromise: fix the standard for such weightage eg return to the 15% variation from the average constituency size as existed in the 50’s.
To counter the gerrymandering it is more difficult as multiple factors are involved. A particular argument ie to maintain a community of interests, may run into conflict with the fight against mal-apportionment. However there are numerous ways from international experiences presented from resource persons, to work out better boundaries -including a best practice from Ohio, USA where the EC held a competition to locate the best proposal which optimally satisfy the various demands of a best boundary!