EC chief: Smooth sailing in Tg Piai so far

Ben Tan
Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun is pictured during a walkabout at SJK(C) Cheow Min, Pontian November 16, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PONTIAN, Nov 16 — Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the Tanjung Piai by-election is proceeding smoothly after polling centres opened at 8am today.

He said there has been no report of anything untoward, with polling going peacefully.

“We can still hear the chanting of slogans outside polling centres, but it is all in good nature.

“I don’t see any activity that involves active persuasion by party supporters but we will continue to monitor the situation closely until after the polls,” said Azhar in a press conference at SMK Dato' Mohd Yunos Sulaiman in Pekan Nanas here today.

Azhar explained that active persuasion and canvassing for votes by party supporters even beyond the 50-metre boundary line is not allowed, and action can be taken against those involved in such activities. 

He said this includes canvassing for votes by gesturing the candidates’ respective numbers by hand.

“However, the commission will continue with our enforcement and monitor the situation.

“If the incident is found to be good-natured, we will take a soft approach as long as there are no serious disturbances,” said Azhar.

Earlier, he said the commission is expecting a voter turnout of 70 per cent.

“The commission is confident that the figure can be reached after the poll, as it is consistent with several analysts that predicted a 65 per cent turnout,” he said.

Azhar urged Tanjung Piai voters to come out and vote earlier today as a thunderstorm is expected in the afternoon according to a Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) forecast.

The Tanjung Piai by-election will see a six-way contest between PH’s Karmaine Sardini, BN’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa’s Datuk Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar.

The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant after Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, who was also a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, died on September 21 due to heart complications.

In 2018, Dr Md Farid won the seat by a 524-vote majority in a three-cornered contest against Jeck Seng, and Nordin Othman of PAS.

Tanjung Piai has a total of 52,471 registered voters in the parliamentary constituency.

There will be a total of 27 polling centres through 125 lanes. After voting between 8am and 5.30pm, the ballots will be counted at the Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim here.

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