Gerrymandering explained:

“… the smallest constituency in Malaysia was 13 percent of the national average while the largest was 288 percent, in contrast to the UK’s which smallest and largest constituency are 77 percent and 153 percent of the national average respectively…If the EC is sincere, it should redraw all the constituencies, this is not gerrymandering, this is outright cheating.”  – Ng Chak Ngoon said at public hearing by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform

Let’s recap the initial eight demands made by Bersih 2.0:

1. Clean the electoral roll
The electoral roll is marred with irregularities such as deceased persons and multiple persons registered under a single address or non-existent addresses. The electoral roll must be revised and updated to wipe out these ‘phantom voters’. The rakyat have a right to an electoral roll that is an accurate reflection of the voting population.

In the longer term, BERSIH 2.0 also calls for the EC to implement an automated voter registration system upon eligibility to reduce irregularities.

2. Reform postal ballot
The current postal ballot system must be reformed to ensure that all citizens of Malaysia are able to exercise their right to vote. Postal ballot should not only be open for all Malaysian citizens living abroad, but also for those within the country who cannot be physically present in their voting constituency on polling day. Police, military and civil servants too must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day.

The postal ballot system must be transparent. Party agents should be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting.

3. Use of indelible ink
Indelible ink must be used in all elections. It is a simple, affordable and effective solution in preventing voter fraud. In 2007, the EC decided to implement the use of indelible ink. However, in the final days leading up to the 12th General Elections, the EC decided to withdraw the use of indelible ink citing legal reasons and rumours of sabotage.

BERSIH 2.0 demands for indelible ink to be used for all the upcoming elections. Failure to do so will lead to the inevitable conclusion that there is an intention to allow voter fraud.

4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
The EC should stipulate a campaign period of not less than 21 days. A longer campaign period would allow voters more time to gather information and deliberate on their choices. It will also allow candidates more time to disseminate information to rural areas. The first national elections in 1955 under the British Colonial Government had a campaign period of 42 days but the campaign period for 12th GE in 2008 was a mere 8 days.

5. Free and fair access to media
It is no secret that the Malaysian mainstream media fails to practice proportionate, fair and objective reporting for political parties of all divide. BERSIH 2.0 calls on the EC to press for all media agencies, especially state-funded media agencies such as Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM) and Bernama to allocate proportionate and objective coverage for all potlical parties.

6. Strengthen public institutions
Public institutions must act independently and impartially in upholding the rule of law and democracy. Public institutions such as the Judiciary, Attorney-General, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), Police and the EC must be reformed to act independently, uphold laws and protect human rights.

In particular, the EC must perform its constitutional duty to act independently and impartially so as to enjoy public confidence. The EC cannot continue to claim that they have no power to act, as the law provides for sufficient powers to institute a credible electoral system.

7. Stop corruption
Corruption is a disease that has infected every aspect of Malaysian life. BERSIH 2.0 and the rakyat demand for an end to all forms of corruption. Current efforts to eradicate corruption are mere tokens to appease public grouses. We demand that serious action is taken against ALL allegations of corruption, including vote buying.

8. Stop dirty politics
Malaysians are tired of dirty politics that has been the main feature of the Malaysian political arena. We demand for all political parties and politicians to put an end to gutter politics. As citizens and voters, we are not interested in gutter politics; we are interested in policies that affect the nation.

Ironically the Bersih 2.0 folks did not include gerrymandering cheats by BN to be abolished. Is it forgotten? Missed out? Deliberate trick? Or gerrymandering considered as the point no.8 as “Stop dirty politics”?

Anyway, none of that really matter for as long as EC did not revised and properly re-aligned all parliamentary seats which means BN can still win with simple majority on merely 15 percent votes!

Bear in mind that the reason why EC suddenly reversed their decision to use indelible ink and postal voter reforms in fact just a mere ‘wayang kulit’ show to project BN UMNO as considerate and listening to Bersih 2.0 demand.

BN UMNO knows that the gerrymandering still serves them well regardless of EC reversal or not.  What would make BN UMNO so confident and appears considerate anyway?

That’s why EC is one damn fucking bitch right under the nose of PM’s Department when it should be independent body under Dewan Rakyat scrutiny. Lack of manpower? Why should EC must get school teachers, Rela goons, govt staffs as their workers? How dubious is that. Why don’t EC get each political parties send their own party members as volunteers in equal proportion to get equal peek of how EC works actually. Let us see. Much better if portable lights generator set is a must contribution from political parties, it surely handy when there is sudden power blackout in midst of vote counting. Oh, all the countings must be recorded too! Just how low tech nowadays to record stuffs eh? Finally the mandatory IQ test for voters. Let’s kick the idiots from voting lah!

The Dyaks Blog Final Donkeys:

So there you go EC and Bersih 2.0! Here’s are the extended demands by The Dyaks Blog:

9. Gerrymandering made illegal. Redraw all the constituencies. Limiting smallest and largest constituency with 77 percent and 153 percent of the national average respectively!

10. Portable lights generator at vote counting stations. Sick of those automated blackouts!

11. Vote counting process must be recorded in full HD for easy and clear review. Not a rocket science to set-up it though!

12. Mandatory IQ test for voters. Stop idiots from ruining the democracy!

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The mother of all electoral abuses
by Lim Hong Hai, Malaysia Kini, Dec 3, 2011

COMMENT Constituency delineation is the major cause of unfairness, rather than the deficiencies in campaign rules.

COMMENT I refer to the Malaysiakini report, ‘A retiree exposes gerrymandering in Sabah’, and applaud Ng Chak Ngoon for his contribution, especially his graph on the unequal numbers of voters among electoral constituencies.

The delineation of constituencies has long been considered unfair because of two practices that are generally regarded as electoral abuses, namely mal-apportionment and gerrymandering.

Both these practices can have important effects under the first-past-the-post electoral system, which we use in Malaysia.

What Ng has so graphically exposed (chart below) is mal-apportionment or inequality among constituency electorates, rather than gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the drawing of constituency boundaries for partisan advantage and it can be done even in the absence of mal-apportionment.

Starting with the first constituency revision in 1974, various scholars have noted signs of gerrymandering but the more important source of unfairness in electoral constituencies is mal-apportionment.

The question now is: what can be done to reduce mal-apportionment and gerrymandering in constituency delineation? Three things seem important.

Reform the EC

First, strengthen the independence of the Election Commission (EC), the delineator at first instance. This can be done mainly by improving the process of appointing commission members, just as we have recently done with respect to judges.

The EC should also use its existing constitutional power to appoint its main administrative officials instead of totally relying on federal civil servants.

Second, the EC should report its recommendations on revised constituencies directly to Parliament for approval.

At present, the EC reports to the prime minister, who can then make changes to the commission’s recommendations before tabling them in Parliament, and also thereafter, in order to secure their approval by Parliament.

This procedure does not inspire confidence that constituencies will be fairly delineated. An added measure is to require more than the present simple majority (in effect, the support of the ruling party alone) in Parliament for the approval of revised constituencies.

For example, such changes should require concurrent majorities by government and opposition or at least a two-thirds majority of Parliament.

Third, restore the clear numerical limits to mal-apportionment that have been removed from the federal constitution. Some background is useful for understanding the suggested measures.

To safeguard the fundamental principle of approximately equal electorates among constituencies, differences in constituency electorates were limited to 15 percent above or below the average constituency electorate at the time of Merdeka.

No more limits

These clear numerical limits were relaxed in 1962 and then removed in 1973 by constitutional amendments: the federal constitution now allows, rather imprecisely, “a measure of weightage” in favour of rural constituencies.

With clear limits removed, rural weightage has been liberally applied by the EC, even though communications and other disadvantages of rural areas that form the justification for rural weightage have undoubtedly and significantly declined since Merdeka.

Indeed, constituency electorates are now so unequal as to make one wonder whether the fundamental requirement of approximate equality is still being complied with.

For peninsular Malaysia, therefore, it is not unreasonable to restore the limits to mal-apportionment that existed at the time of Merdeka, that is, 15 percent above or below the average constituency electorate.

Conditions in Sabah and Sarawak would justify wider limits than those for peninsular Malaysia. We may restore the limits that were in force when Malaysia was formed.

Those limits allow the largest constituency to have twice the number of electors as the smallest constituency, this is, one-third or 33 percent above or below the average constituency in each state.

This would still represent a considerable reduction from present levels of mal-apportionment in the two states.

Largely, because of mal-apportionment, the practice of constituency delineation is the major cause of unfairness in our electoral system. It causes more unfairness than deficiencies in voter registration and campaign rules.

Indeed, correcting unfairness in constituency delineation is the acid test for the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform and the government.

*LIM HONG HAI is a political scientist with Universiti Sains Malaysia. Here is a more detailed examination of the Malaysian electoral system in Lim’s essay, ‘Electoral Politics in Malaysia: ‘Managing’ Elections in a Plural Society’.
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A retiree exposes gerrymandering in Sabah
by Nigel Aw, Malaysia Kini,  Nov 27, 2011

A retiree arrested the attention of opposition members at the public hearing by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform, when he told them to forget about marching to Putrajaya under the current electoral system.

Armed with printouts of his presentation slides, Ng Chak Ngoon (right) who described himself as a retiree, presented the panel with a graph that showed 222 lines with every one being taller than the other as it progressed.

The graph, said Ng at the hearing in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, which saw several others testifying, was plotted against the population size of all the constituencies in ascending order for the 2008 general election.

“All on the left (in blue) are won by BN, on the right (in red) are all won by the opposition. The BN constituencies are very small and the opposition constituencies are very big. So what is happening here?

“It’s not by chance that all the people in big constituencies like the opposition and all those people in the small constituencies like BN. I would think there is a design here for the Election Commission (EC) to sub-divide all the BN areas into smaller areas to increase their number of MPs,” he said.

Ng added that the smallest constituency, BN-held Putrajaya only had 6,008 voters but Opposition-held Kapar had a staggering 112,224 voters, 17 times more than Putrajaya.

‘Kapar can have 17 MPs’

“If we break down Kapar to the size of Putrajaya, you would have 17 MPs from Kapar instead of just one.”

If all the seats are made into equal size, Ng added, the last general election would yield a result where BN and Pakatan Rakyat would only have a difference of seven seats in Parliament as opposed to the actual results of 140 to 82 seats.

He further estimated that if a party relied on all the small seats to win power, it would only require 15.4 percent of the total votes to form a majority in Parliament.

“If the opposition thinks they can march to Putrajaya, forget about it.”

At this point, PSC member Anthony Loke who is DAP’s Rasah MP quipped: “Very demoralising.”

Explaining further, Ng said the smallest constituency in Malaysia was 13 percent of the national average while the largest was 288 percent, in contrast to the UK’s which smallest and largest constituency are 77 percent and 153 percent of the national average respectively.

“If the EC is sincere, it should redraw all the constituencies, this is not gerrymandering, this is outright cheating.”

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PSC member Dr Hatta Ramli later concurred, pointing out that the Baling parliamentary constituency, supposedly a rural seat, had an unusually large number of constituents at around 70,000.

“This was because PAS has won the seat before,” said Hatta, who then asked if Ng thought this was ethical.

“Unethical is a mild word, Can I answer outside?” replied Ng in reference to parliamentary rules that require members in the hearing to abide by appropriate language.

State by state breakdown

Ng later proceeded to present similar graphs with a state by state breakdown at which PSC member Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said: “Can you rate Kangar?”, in reference to his own constituency.

“If you have Negeri Sembilan’s, I would like to see my chances of winning,” added Loke.

At this, Ng quipped: “I’ll have to charge you for consultancy.”

When asked by PSC member Fong Chan Onn (right) on how the panel can accommodate the increase of seats for Sabah and Sarawak to meet the Malaysian Federation agreement of 34 percent into his recommendations, Eng replied: “What is your objective?

“To win the election or to have an equitable dispersion of votes? If these are conflicting desires, obviously we cannot come to a compromise. BN has to answer that question, not me, I’m a retired man.”

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Additional information regarding gerrymandering:

Race Riot 1969

In the Holiday Villa seminar, amongst those who spoke were FahmiIbrahim, one-time political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Harun Idris, and Mazlan Harun, Datuk Harun’s son. Datuk Harun is of course synonymous with May 13, the tragic race riots of 1969 that erupted two days after the 11 May 1969 general election.

We all know what happened on 13 May 1969, and why it happened, so we need not deliberate on that matter. What I want to talk about is the seminar in the Holiday Villa, which I have in fact already written about before.

UMNO lost Selangor in 1969

“The reason we lost Selangor in 1969 was because of the non-Malay votes. So we decided to take Kuala Lumpur out of Selangor and turn it into Federal Territory to reduce the non-Malay voters in the state. Then we created a new Malay city called Shah Alam so that we can flood Selangor will more Malays and dilute the remaining non-Malay voters in Selangor.”

Shah Alam – a Malay city

That was what Fahmi explained — the reason why Selangor was split into two with the creation of the Federal Territory and the reason why Shah Alam was created as the new State Capital cum Malay city.

“It worked for awhile as long as the Malays vote Umno and the non-Malays vote opposition. But when the Malays also vote opposition then this strategy no longer works. So we need to think of a new strategy.”

Gerrymandering

The ‘new’ strategy Umno is talking about is not actually new but is an ongoing strategy. This strategy is called gerrymandering and it was invented by the Americans.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:

Gerrymandering is a form of boundary delimitation (redistricting) in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral purposes, thereby producing a contorted or unusual shape. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that noun can also refer to the process.

Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular group of constituents, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group.

Gaining disproportionate power

When used to allege that a given party is gaining a disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, notably in US federal voting district boundaries which produce a proportion of constituencies with an African-American or other minority in the majority (these are thus called “minority-majority districts”).

You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering

Malaysia has turned gerrymandering into an art

For example, when they wanted to topple Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang, the PAS President, they carved up his Marang constituency in such a manner that areas from across the state, like along the Kuala Berang road, were added to Marang. Hadi, in spite of his stature, lost the election.

The same was done for Lembah Pantai, which was another opposition stronghold. They added Sungai Pencala near Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kampong Pasir along the Old Kelang Road, and Segambut Dalam near Jalan Ipoh, to Bangsar, and the opposition got wiped out — until recently when Nurul Izzah won the seat.

The above are just two examples of many. It is no coincidence that ‘Malay’ seats like Putrajaya (97%-98% Malay voters) have as low of 5,000 voters while ‘Chinese’ seats like Selayang have more than 120,000 voters.

Government supporters spread into many seats

In a gerrymandering exercise you lump all the opposition voters into one huge constituency and you spread out the government supporters into many seats. So, the opposition can garner 100,000 votes but it will be only one seat while the 100,000 votes that the ruling party wins will be in three or four seats.

BN 45% vote and Pakatan Rakyar 55%

And that was why even though the ruling party garnered only 45% of the popular votes in 1969 it still managed to form the federal government, although without a two-thirds majority in parliament. The 55% of the popular votes that the opposition won was not enough for it to form the federal government. The opposition would have needed to win 60% of
the popular votes to form the federal government, which was impossible for the opposition to achieve.

Malay also voted for non Malay candidate

Of course, before 2008 it was easier. You just needed to isolate the non-Malay voters into one large seat and spread out the Malay voters into many seats. But in 2008 this changed. In 2008 the Malays too voted for the non-Malay candidates whereas in the past the opposition Malays meant only PAS — which was in the rural Malay heartland and not in the cities.

The game has changed.

So the rules of the game also need to change. And gerrymandering is not that simple any more. You can no longer redraw the constituency boundaries according to race. Malays too willnow vote for Chinese and Indian candidates from non-Malay parties such as DAP and PKR.

SPR new formula in the making

So it is back to the drawing board for the election commission (SPR). Next year, they need to sit down and come out with a new formula. Barisan Nasional needs to ensure that it can still form the federal government even if it wins just 40% of the popular votes. And it also needs to ensure it can regain its two-thirds majority in Parliament with a mere 50% of the votes. That is the new game plan.

Why is two third majority important

But to do this they need to first get back their two-thirds majority in parliament. And they need to get back this two-thirds this year so that next year the new constituency boundaries can be settled. Then, when they dissolve parliament and call for new general elections, say mid-2011 or early 2012, the new boundaries would apply.

Gerrymandering require two third majority

Some say it is not crucial for Barisan Nasional to have a two-thirds majority in parliament to be able to run this country. If it is only about running this country then that may be true. But it is not true if they need to embark on a new gerrymandering exercise. To do this they need two-thirds of parliament.

And this is why Umno is very keen to buy at least ten or so opposition Members of Parliament. This will give them back their two-thirds majority in parliament.

This was that The Straits Times of Singapore said:

The BN needs 148 seats for a two-thirds majority. With support of the three independents, it will get there with just another eight defectors. A two-thirds majority is not just a psychological booster, but is also necessary for smooth passage of the next redrawing of electoral constituencies that will begin next year.

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Malaysia General Election Summary

1959;
Government: 74 seats (71.15%) – 51.7% votes
Opposition: 30 seats (28.85%) – 48.3% votes
Total seats: 104 seats

1964;
Government: 89 seats (85.58%) – 58.5% votes
Opposition: 15 seats (14.42%) – 41.15 votes
Total seats: 104 seats

1969;
Government: 95 seats (65.97%) – 49.3% votes
Opposition: 49 seats (34.03) – 50.7% votes
Total seats: 144 seats

1974;
Government: 135 seats (87.66%) – 60.7% votes
Opposition: 19 seats (12.34%) – 39.3% votes
Total seats: 154 seats

1978;
Government: 130 seats (84.42%) – 57.2% votes
Opposition: 24 seats (15.58%) – 42.8% votes
Total seats: 154 seats

1982;
Government: 132 seats (85.71%) – 60.5% votes
Opposition: 22 seats (14.29%) – 39.5% votes
Total seats: 154 seats

1986;
Government: 148 seats (83.62%) – 55.8% votes
Opposition: 29 seats (16.38%) – 41.5% votes
Total seats: 177 seats

1990;
Government: 127 seats (70.55%) – 53.4% votes
Opposition: 53 seats (29.45%) – 46.6% votes
Total seats: 180 seats

1995;
Government: 162 seats (84.38%) – 65.2% votes
Opposition: 30 seats (15.62%) – 34.8% votes
Total seats: 192 seats

1999;
Government: 148 seats (76.68%) – 56.5% votes
Opposition: 45 seats (23.32%) – 43.5 votes
Total seats: 193 seats

2004;
Government: 198 seats (90.41%) – 63.9% votes
Opposition: 29 seats (9.59%) – 36.1% votes
Total seats: 219 seats

2008;
Government: 140 seats (62.61%) – 52.2% votes
Opposition: 82 seats (36.93%) – 47.8% votes
Total seats: 222 seats
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GE 2008 Summary Table
In opposition’s newly won states (Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor), opposition won mostly seats with number of voters above state average. Perak was especially polaris ed.


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Summary of 2011 Sarawak State Elections;
Barisan Nasional – 372,379 votes (54.5%) – 55 seats (77.46%)
Pakatan Rakyat – 300,288 votes (45.5%) – 15 seats (21.13%)
Parti Cinta Malaysia – 2,895 votes (0.43%) – 0 seats (0%)
Independents – 20,064 votes (2.98%) – 1 seats (1.41%)
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Size does matter
Baram needs to be delineated to serve the rakyat better — MP

by Anthony Joseph, Borneo Post, Monday 19 September 2011

MIRI: It is not fair for the people of Baram to be served by only one MP and two state assemblymen because their rugged parliamentary constituency is as big as the state of Pahang.

Baram MP Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan, who is also Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, said ideally the constituency should be delineated to make way for either an additional parliamentary or state seat.

But herein lies another problem – while the land area is huge, the population is dwindling, no thanks to rural-urban migration.

Ten years ago, the population of Baram stood at 90,000 but based on a census done last year, it has nosedived to a mere 45,000.

Speaking at ‘Seminar Motivasi Kesedaran dan Pembangunan Di Era Globalisasi’ held at the Civic Centre here yesterday, Sagan said the only way to persuade the Election Commission (EC) to create another seat when they carry out their next delineation exercise in two to three years time would be to increase the number of voters.

The Baram parliamentary constituency is home to the state seats of Telang Usan and Marudi.

Baram has 26,716 registered voters, where 13,623 are in Telang Usan and 13,093 in Marudi.

“With the number we are having it would be hard for us to convince the Election Commission to create an additional seat in Baram in their next boundary alignment exercise,” he said.

Taking the cue from Belaga constituency, which has 8,463 registered voters, Sagan said the only way to make a strong case would be to increase the registered voter population in a specific area to at least 6,000.

“If we can get that figure, I think it would be possible for us to achieve this dream to better serve the area,” he said.

In urging community and political leaders to work hard and co-operate with each other to register more new voters in Baram, particularly in upper Baram, he admitted that the task ahead would be tough even though there were still a big number of eligible voters who have yet to register.

“There are about 10,000 Penan living in the area, and out of this some 5,000 could be eligible voters.Last month, we managed to register more than 1,000 Penan voters.

“However, there is another problem…many in the Orang Ulu community, particularly the Penan, are stateless,” he lamented.

In any case, Sagan said various initiatives had been implemented by the party to register more voters and to help those who are stateless to obtain birth certificates and identity cards.

Also present at the seminar were Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, SPDP Wanita chief Datin Winnie Jolly, political secretary to Chief Minister Robert Laing Anyi and SPDP Telang Usan Youth chief Alfred Kuleh.
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Telang Usan assemblyman all for re-delineation of Baram constituency
Borneo Post, Tuesday 20 September 2011

MIRI: Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau has given his full support to the suggestion by Baram MP Datuk Jacob Dungau

Sagan that the Election Commission (EC) create either another parliamentary or state seat out of Baram constituency.

Sagan, who is also Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, on Sunday said Baram, which he described to be as big as the state of Pahang, needed to be re-delineated in order to enable its elected representatives serve the people effectively.

He strongly felt it was not fair for the people in the area to be served by only one MP and two state assemblymen – Sylvester Entri (Marudi) and Dennis Ngau (Telang Usan).

“I fully support the re-delineation exercise suggested by Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan as based on my experience, it is hard to cover a wide area,” Ngau said when asked by The Borneo Post about the issue.

According to him, he has to serve a total of 151 villages which are mostly scattered and far from each other.

In view of that, he is truly hoping that EC will look into the matter seriously, while proposing that the re-delineation should create one more state seat and another parliamentary seat to ensure that the people are better represented and receive fair attention for development.

He reasoned that more seats meant more minor rural project grants for the people, considering the limited funds presently allocated to them to cover a wide area.

On an unrelated matter, Ngau is urging the Ministry of Rural Development to upgrade the timber roads in Telang Usan.

“The access roads used by the people in my constituency were logging roads built by timber companies. When the logging activities stopped, the roads were left without maintenance.

“Thus, it is timely to survey the roads for upgrading purpose. Hopefully, we can secure more funds from the federal government for such purpose,” he remarked.

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