KUALA LUMPUR: A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer said the proposed redelineation by the Election Commission recently has strengthened further the ethnic politics that has always existed in the country.

Associate Prof Faisal Hazis said the move was damaging to the country in the long run as it was holding the country back from progress, but he stopped short of calling for a ban to ethnic-based parties.

In his speech at the Liberalism Conference 2016 yesterday, Faisal called for the EC to “de-ethnicise” constituencies, in order to curb the spread of racial politics.

“There is a need to deconstruct the election rules. The proposed redelineation by the Election Commission recently, just strengthened ethnic politics,” he said here at the event organised by think tank, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

“However, there is no need to ban ethnic-based political parties. Part of a democracy is this (ethnic-based parties’) fundamental right to be in existence. But you need to reform the election rules to de-ethnicise constituencies,” he said.

He also suggested that one way of improving representation in mixed constituencies was by having several representatives, instead of just one, so that minority views are not ignored.

The EC had proposed amendments to 12 parliamentary and 34 state constituencies in the peninsula and proposed to create 13 new state seats in Sabah. The move has been objected to by both the Barisan Nasional coalition, including MCA, Gerakan and SUPP and the Opposition, who are concerned over the apparent segregation of voters along ethnic lines.

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