SUNGAI BESAR, Jun 18 – A total of 30 polling centres, with 90 polling streams, opened at 8am today for the Sungai Besar parliamentary by-election to enable 42,365 voters to elect their new MP. A check at several polling centres showed people already gathering to exercise their right, though the sky was downcast.
Mohamed Chat, 64, was the first to cast his ballot at the polling centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Parit Empat. A spokesman for the Election Commission said all the polling centres, 24 at schools and four at community halls, would close at 5pm. On June 14, some 265 of the 286 early voters cast their ballots at two polling centres at the Sabak Bernam District Police headquarters here.
The counting of votes will begin at the polling centres soon after polling closes at 5pm. The tallying of votes will be conducted at the Dewan Seri Bernam here. Election Commission chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah had said that 75% of the electorate were expected to vote today. The percentage turnout in the last general election, in 2013, was 88.30%.
He had also said that the result of the by-election was expected to be known at about 9pm. The by-election is a three-cornered contest among Budiman Mohd Zohdi of the Barisan Nasional, Dr Abdul Rani Osman of PAS and Azhar Abdul Shukur of Amanah.
It is being held following the death of the MP, Tan Sri Noriah Kasnon, who was deputy plantation industries and commodities minister, in a helicopter crash in Sarawak on May 5. Noriah had garnered 18,695 votes to beat Mohamed Salleh M. Hussin of PAS by a majority of 399 votes in the 2013 general election. — Bernama