Was it Gerrymandering?

Accusations of gerrymandering have been hurled at the EC and the Government in the recent elections. On the face of it, the evidence is compelling. Most of the largest seats were won by the opposition, while most of the smallest seats were won by BN.

I’m not going to dwell too much on the smallest seats, because as we all know most of these seats are in Sabah and Sarawak. The agreement with these states during the formation of Malaysia stipulated at the time that 25% of seats in Parliament were reserved for those 2 states. Seats in Sabah and Sarawak have fewer voters simply due to the fact their combined population is a lot less than 25% of the country as a whole.

So, let’s look instead at the largest seats that recently were mostly won by the opposition. Remember, the accusation is that they were purposely left to be so large to minimize the number of opposition seats in Parliament.

The last redelineation exercise was done in 2003. The chart below summarizes the 1986 – 2004 election results for 15 of the seats that had the most voters in the recent GE 13.


Blue indicates the seat was won by BN and red indicates it was won by the opposition. The ones left blank indicates that the seat did not exist at the time.

What is immediately apparent is that there is a heck of a lot more blue than red. In fact, in the 2004 GE, the first one after the last redelineation, every single one of these seats was won by BN. Furthermore, BN had consistently won most of these seats in the 4 GEs prior to that.

So my question to the conspiracy theorists is simple: How is it gerrymandering when all the seats that are now the largest were, at the time of the last redelineation, solid BN seats?


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