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Sarawak State Assembly passes Bill to increase its seats – but is it justified?

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The Sarawak State Assembly passed a Bill to increase the number of seats in the House from 71 to 82, but what was the justification for the increase?


The Dewan Undangan Negeri (Composition of Membership) Bill 2014 was passed on 11 November.

More people should be made aware as to how frivolously the Sarawak BN government wants to increase the number of state assembly seats, the way they debated the motion and the reasons they advanced.

They explanatory notes to the Bill indicate that the increase is necessary having regard to:

  • the increase in the number of electors
  • the accelerating pace of development of the state since 2005 (when the Dewan’s current membership was fixed), and
  • the overall need to provide effective representation for the people in the Legislature

Are these sufficient grounds for increasing the seats? Apparently, the members debating did not know how the additional seats would be carved out, which seats would be affected and whether the rural weightage would be further increased. So how were they supposed to vote?

It is important to know the details of the debate by the various members of the House. Please read the Hansard of the debate in the Sarawak State Assembly on pages 20-49 and judge for yourself the logic of increasing the seats and whether it is justified.

Strangely, the Hansard does not give the result of the vote division of the house of the members in favour and those opposed to the motion.

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