KUALA LUMPUR: The motion to give Sabah 13 more state seats was approved by Dewan Rakyat today.
The new seats are Bengkoka, Mangaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dambai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.
It increases the number of state seats from 60 to 73.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said it would ensure better management and administration, and improve the living standards of Sabah folk.
“Today is a historical day. The motion is very crucial for Sabahans.
“The approval does not only ensure their voices can be heard, but also enables them to get better service from elected representatives.”
Shafie said some Sabahans had not been able to exercise their right as voters because they lived too far away from voting centres.
He said there were instances where those who lived in remote areas or on islands were unable to vote as it was too difficult for them to get to the voting centres.
“They left their houses at 5am in fear of bad weather, but when they arrived (at the polling centres) it was already after 5.30pm when the centres were closed,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
Shafie thanked Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the other 157 members of parliament who took part in the vote.
“Not one person who attended the session rejected the motion, regardless of whether they were from the government or the opposition.
“I believe this will help Sabahans have a better living standard,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir said the creation of new seats as recommended by the Election Commission (EC) would allow improved services to the state’s constituents and enable better interactions between elected representatives and the people to discuss matters pertaining their welfare, while boosting development.
He said various factors were taken into consideration in carrying out the redelineation exercise.
“They are population density and growth in the number of voters; geographical conditions, topography and area size; development and existing infrastructure; suitable number of elected representatives, access to services from elected representatives, administrative facilities for the purpose of voter registration and preserving local relations.”
On Aug 9, 2016, the state assembly had approved an amendment to Article 14(2) of the Sabah state constitution to raise the number of assemblymen from 60 to 73.
This followed a review of EC’s report on the Redelineation Exercise for the Federal and State Constituencies.