Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kuala Besut by-election: Polling day

The people of Kuala Besut will decide on Wednesday if the Terengganu state assembly ends up hung or not.

Barisan Nasional candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Rahman, 37, will go up against PAS candidate Azlan Yusof, 48, known fondly as Che Long.

Currently, Barisan has 16 seats in the state assembly to Pakatan Rakyat’s 15 seats. A win for Pas will result in an equal 16 seats for each coalition in the state assembly.

The seat fell vacant following the death of Barisan's Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar who passed away on June 26.

There are 17,683 registered voters in Kuala Besut out of which 1,148 are early voters. Early voting took place on July 20, with a turnout of 79.63%.

The Election Commission estimates a turnout of 75% for Wednesday’s voting even though it is a working day. The results will only be known after 10pm.

In the May 5 general elections, Barisan won with a majority of 2,434 votes.

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11.30am: Terengganu Deputy Police Chief SAC Datuk Hamzah Md Jamil said police have the situation under control at all eight polling centres, with no untoward incidents reported so far.

11.30am: Voters say the new indelible ink is effective. "I've tried washing my finger several times but the ink is not coming out," said one voter.

11.20am: The EC says that as at 11am, 7,356 or 44.49% of voters have cast their ballots.

11:15am: Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan says campaigning is civil as he shakes hands and mingles with PAS supporters at Kampung Nail.

10.15am: EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof said 10% or 2,406 voters have cast their votes in the Kuala Besut by-election as at 9am.

Tengku Zaihan casting his vote at the voting center at SMK Kuala Besut.

9.45am: Heng said she is impressed with BN's candidate Tengku Zaihan, whom she described as a "people's person". "He is young and a professional and has the right qualities to spearhead development and transformation," said Heng. She also praised the campaigning by both parties, which she finds "very civil". "We may have different political ideologies but we are still Malaysians."

9.40am: Some 40 MCA supporters, led by state chief Datuk Toh Chin Yaw and Publicity Bureau Chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie, are campaigning outside SK Kuala Besut, where most of the 114 Chinese voters will cast their votes.

9.15am: Azizah Nik Omar, the widow of former Kuala Besut assemblyman Dr. A. Rahman Mokhtar casts her vote at SMK Kuala Besut. She said she wants her late husband's work to continue and believes candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman is capable of doing so. She said her husband was very particular about providing more housing for the people, as it was the primary matter that people complained to him about.

9:10am: There is traffic congestion along some roads in Kuala Besut, caused by supporters lining sides of roads at schools and other "strategic" areas. While loud, they appear civil. The weather is good and voters are out in droves. There is a heavy police presence, in particular traffic policemen directing traffic.

BN candidate for Kuala Besut Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman showing his finger before casting his vote inside voting center at SMK Kuala Besut.

8:50am: Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Sri Ahmad Said visits Kampung Baru school to meet voters. He is hopeful of a BN win. He urges both sets of supporters not to provoke one another.

8.30am: Azlan's campaign manager Hanafiah Che Mat said that the people are receptive to Azlan because he is a friendly and generous person. "He does not display political sentiments," he said. Hanafiah believed there will be a close fight in the by-election. Azlan is on his way to the other voting streams.

Voters queuing up to cast their vote at SK Kg Baru, Kuala Besut.

8.20am: Tengku Zaihan meets the press outside the school after voting. He says he is confident of his chances. His matching red attire (a red baju Melayu) with his wife is a symbol of "bravery", he said.

8.18am: Azlan tells reporters he is hopeful of a win because of PAS' work during campaigning. "I have hope in my heart, but God will decide," he said.

8.08am: After casting his vote, Azlan greets voters at the school. There are at least 40 media personnel following him.

8.05am: Azlan casts his vote under the glare of the media. He appears bemused by the attention he's getting.

8.00am: Barisan Nasional candidate for Kuala Besut Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman arrives at SMK Kuala Besut with wife Siti Salbiah Othman in matching red outfits.

7.45am: PAS candidate Azlan Yusof arrives at the SK Kampung Baru wife Che Zabiah, 45, and an entourage of about 30 to chants of "Allahuakbar". They recite a prayer for Azlan. He is asked to remove his skullcap by the police because it displays the PAS logo. He replaces it with a plain skullcap. He is one of the first voters at the gate.

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