Problems with gerrymandering and malapportionent

From the previous installment, we talked about what gerrymandering and malapportionment is. This time, let us talk about why it is harmful to the electoral system.


Before talking about why the practice is harmful, let us introduce first-past-the-post(1PTP) system first. A first-past-the-post system divides an electorate into several single-member districts that elect one legislator each. The system, has been criticized for being “unduly undemocratic”, mainly by British and Canadian medias. Singapore reformed their 1PTP system long ago, but only changed to STV, a similar system that ensures the PAP to be dominant in the parliament.


Back on Malaysia; Malaysia is divided into 222 single-member districts, which ideally should represent 125,000 citizens each. However, Malaysian constituencies are not drawn ideally; constituency boundaries were drawn strategically to represent the interest of the government. For instance, in the 13th general election, which happened three years ago, the opposition had 386,285 more votes than the government had, but the government had 44 more seats than that of the opposition.


It might be conspicuous to you that why the 1PTP system is inferior compared to proportional representation (multi-member districts system is better, but just around the same mark).  A mixed proportional representation may still be prone to malapportionment, but not gerrymandering; a full PR would be prone to both.

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