Mar 11, 2018

Malaysia's scandal-plagued P.M. wants to gerrymander his way to another term

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak delivering his 2017 budget in Parliament. Photo: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said / Getty Images

Ahead of Malaysia's August general election, the scandal-plagued ruling party will soon vote on new constituency boundaries that would allow it to maintain power even if fails to win a majority of votes, as happened in 2013, The Economist reports.

Why it matters: This comes as at least six countries, including the U.S. Department of Justice, are carrying out a criminal inquiry into more than $4.5 billion missing from a state development agency Prime Minister Razak Najib oversaw. Despite poor approval ratings and a dismal track record, the proposed electoral map virtually guarantees Najib another term, per the Economist.

How it's done: "The constituencies in the maps proposed by the government-appointed election commission range in size from 18,000 voters to 146,000. The Barisan Nasional controls all the 15 smallest districts; 14 of the 15 biggest ones are in the hands of the opposition. The average Barisan seat has 30,000 fewer voters than the average opposition one." In the 2013 election, the ruling Barisan Nasional got 47% of the popular vote and secured 60% of the 222 seats in parliament.

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