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Monday, August 1, 2016

13 new state seats for Sabah, areas not confirmed

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah is expected to have an additional 13 state seats, up from the present 60, when the State Assembly passes a Bill next month, Sabah Deputy Speaker Johnny Mositun was reported as saying in the New Sabah Times on Monday.

The earlier speculation was seven new seats, added Mositun. “By having 13 new state seats, Sabah will have more than the 11 new state seats created in Sarawak recently.”

Sabah’s existing 60 seats followed the creation of 12 new state seats, in favour of Umno, after the 1994 state election. In 1994, Sabah had 48 state seats i.e. 20 KDM, 20 Muslim and eight Chinese.
Mositun, who is also PBS Secretary-General, could not say where the new state seats will be created.

“Once the Bill is approved, then it will be up to the Election Commission (EC) to draw the new seats. It must be based on the needs of the state,’’ he said. “The EC will work out the seats and then put it up for the public who can give their views.”

The EC will hold public hearings and take various views into consideration in the creation of the new seats, he reiterated. Mositun stressed the new state seats would have to be approved by Parliament.
Political circles, quoted by the New Sabah Times, said that at least 12 of the existing 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah would be affected by the creation of new state seats.

The parliamentary seats mentioned include Kinabatangan, Beluran, Sandakan, Sepangar, Lahad Datu, Tawau, Papar, Kota Marudu, Tawau, Kota Belud and Tuaran.

Sabah EC director Md Idrus Ismail said in December last year that Sabah needed new seats. Among other factors, he mentioned the increase in population and the fact that lawmakers had a large area to cover, often by boats as there were not many access roads in the interior.

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