Balakong, Seri Setia folk vote today

MEOR RIDUWAN MEOR AHMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: THE 21-day campaigning period for the Balakong by-election between Pakatan Harapan’s Wong Siew Ki and MCA’s Tan Chee Teong officially ended at midnight.

Although the conventional campaign period, which by far is the longest period ever given by the Election Commission (EC), has ended, voters are still slugging it out with each other in the virtual world.

And now, the result of the Balakong by-election lies in the hands of 62,188 voters.

They will choose either Wong or Tan to represent them in the Selangor State Assembly, after 28 out of the 31 early voters, comprising police officers, voted on Sept 4.

EC’s electoral roll on July 2 showed that there were 62,219 voters eligible to vote in the by-election.

It was learnt that three out of the 31 early voters did not vote because their services had expired or they faced disciplinary problems.

EC targets about 70 per cent of voter turnout for the Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections, which are being held simultaneously today, beating the low percentage of voter-turnout in the Sungai Kandis by-election on Aug 4.

EC deputy chairman Tan Sri Othman Mahmood said eventhough the polling time had been extended to 5.30pm, voters were advised to plan their schedules ahead and not go out to vote at the last minute.

To ensure a smooth polling process, EC has added 29 new channels, especially for senior citizens aged 60 and above, bringing the total number of channels to 129 at 17 voting centres.

The Balakong by-election is being held following the death of incumbent Eddie Ng Tien Chee in a road accident on July 20.

In the 14th General Election, Ng beat Barisan Nasional candidate Lim Chin Wah and Mohamad Ibrahim Ghazali (Pas) with a majority of 35,538 votes.

The Balakong by-election, which will be a one-on-one affair between Tan and Wong, will be a testing ground to see whether MCA is relevant to Chinese voters as the party will, for the first time, use its party logo and not BN.

Tan, 40, said it would be difficult to garner voters’ support as Balakong was a DAP stronghold. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd