PEKAN: A total 72% of the 20,816 voters in the Chini state by-election, as at 4pm, have cast their ballots.
This turnout has now exceeded the Election Commission’s earlier set 70% target.
The voting process in 13 voting centres, involving 65 channels, began at 8am and will end at 5.30pm.
EC deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom said based on his observation, standard operating procedures (SOPs) set for the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been well complied with.
However, he also admitted that some found it hard to follow social distancing protocols.
As for security, there have been no reports of untoward incidents with police presence evident at all locations near polling centres.
No police roadblocks have been sighted so far, but it is learnt that once polling ends, they will be mounted along Jalan Kuantan-Segamat which leads to the tallying centre at the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) here, as the authorities are attempting to prevent large crowding by supporters, except for those with special passes.
The Chini state by-election is a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional’s (BN), Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, who is a Felda Chini second-generation settler, and two independent candidates, businessman Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49.
The by-election was held following the death of incumbent Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, 60, at Kuala Lumpur Hospital due to a heart attack on May 7. Abu Bakar was Chini state assemblyman since the 11th general election in 2004.
It is the first by-election to be held since enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, with several SOPs introduced, including special streams for voters aged 60 and above.
In the 14th general election, Abu Bakar retained the Chini state seat with a majority of 4,622 votes, after securing 10,027 votes against PAS candidate Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim, who obtained 5,405 votes and PKR’s Mohamad Razali Ithnain, with 1,065 votes. - Bernama