Balakong by-election: EC confident of up to 80pct voter turnout

Hidir Reduan and Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi

BANGI: The Election Commission is expecting an 85 per cent voter turnout for the Balakong by-election, with the results expected at 10pm on Sept 8.

EC secretary Datuk Mohamed Elias Abu Bakar said, as polling hours have been extended by 30 minutes to 5.30pm, he hoped that more voters will come out and exercise their right by casting their votes on Sept 8.

"We also hope that the campaign will run smoothly and peacefully without any disturbance.

"All quarters, including political leaders, candidates, supporters and non-governmental organisations, should adhere to the rules and regulations enforced by the EC and police," he added

There are 62,219 registered voters in the Balakong constituency, with 65 per cent of them Chinese.

Elias also reminded both MCA and Pakatan Harapan (PH)to refrain from using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others, to influence voters on polling day on Sept 8.

He said MCA and PH candidates will now begin their 21-day campaigning period starting Saturday until 11.59pm on Sept 7.

Asked on why the campaigning period was set at 21 days, compared to 14 days during Sungai Kandis by-election,

Elias said the decision made after taking into account public holidays Hari Raya Aidiladha and the National Day.

“Therefore, the EC believes that Sept 8 is the best day for both candidates.”

The Balakong by-election will see a straight fight between PH’s Wong Siew Ki and MCA's Tan Chee Teong.

The state seat was declared vacant following the death of its assemblyman Eddie Ng Tien Chee in an accident at KM11.7 of the Grand Saga Highway on July 20.

In the 14th General Election, Ng retained his Balakong seat for the second term after defeating Lim Chin Wah from Barisan Nasional (BN) and Mohamad Ibrahim Ghazali (Pas) with a 35,538-vote majority.

Early voting for Balakong by-election was set on Sept 4, while voting day is on Sept 8.

Voters can check their status and voting streams by visiting the EC website at www.spr.gov.my, calling 03-88927018 or sending a text message to 15888. Additional reporting by Mohd Anwar Patho Rohman and Siti Nur Mas Erah Amran © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd