Constitution grants ‘equal value’ to all voters, Bersih 2.0 tells minister


(MM) – The Federal Constitution guarantees equal legislative representation to all voters in Malaysia regardless their ethnicity or economic background, Bersih 2.0 said.

The electoral reform group’s chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah, accused Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim of using “rubbish” logic when he said yesterday that the “one person, one vote” concept is ill-suited for Malaysia unless it is implemented along racial lines.

“Our Constitution guarantees equal value, that we are all voting citizens,” Maria told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

“So our voting value as stated in the Constitution is not constrained by race, the colour of my skin, or whether I am rich or poor… that kind of logic is just plain rubbish,” she added.

Shahidan told Parliament yesterday that the concept recommended by Parliamentary Select Committee of Electoral Reform in 2012 “does not reflect on justice”.

“One Shahidan might be equivalent to one Mahfuz but one Loke might not be same as one Shahidan,” said the minister referring to Pokok Sena PAS MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Seremban DAP MP Anthony Loke.

“The concept of one person, one vote must be based on racial breakdown, economic and family background,” said Shahidan.

Later, the minister also suggested voting along racial lines, claiming this would help resolve every racial conflict in Malaysia.

“Let the Chinese vote for the Chinese, to represent the 23 per cent Chinese in the country. Let the Indians vote for Indians, there are 7 per cent of Indian.

“This is will resolve all the existing racial problems. Everyone is happy, we will rule in peace and harmony,” he said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby.

But Maria reminded Shahidan of his role as a minister in charge of electoral reforms and demanded that he explain to Bersih 2.0 and to Malaysians if he truly feels that the country’s highest law supports his remarks.

“We have a minister who does not understand the Constitution… how can you say it is based on race, or how much money a person has?” the Bersih leader asked.

She said Bersih 2.0 will be in Parliament tomorrow to submit the findings of its “People’s Tribunal” to all MPs and hopes Shahidan will explain his remarks then.