Returning officer Hamsein Atar (left) and Nazri Bujang observing the preparation of the ballot boxes for the Tanjong Datu by-election. -Zulazhar Sheblee/The Star
LUNDU: The campaigning period throughout the Tanjong Datu by-election has been clean with no report of untoward incidents or election violations.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said both sets of supporters have conducted themselves in a peaceful manner.
He was also content that no posters, banners and other campaigning materials possessed provocation elements.
"We have not received any complaints from the returning officer, election director or our monitoring team.
"Nevertheless, Sarawak is unique in the sense that the election period has always been peaceful. Both set of supporters interact harmoniously and there is no public quarrel and provocation," he told reporters after observing EC preparations for the polls on Saturday.
A total of 16 polling stations and 25 voting streams are open from 8am with closing time varying according to the number of voters. He expected the result to be known by 8pm.
On a related note, Mohd Hashim advised employers to give their staff adequate time off to cast their votes.
Mohd Hashim is also confident that voter turnout would reach 75%. He said there was no reason for constituents not to come out and cast their votes.
However, he advised the people to vote early considering the rainy weather in Lundu in the past week.
"We set a 75% target as a means to encourage people to vote. On a whole, we also carry out continuous campaigns throughout the country to encourage eligible individuals to register as voters.
The Tanjong Datu by-election on Feb 18 will see a three-cornered fight between Puan Sri Jamilah Anu of Barisan Nasional against PBDS Baru candidate Rapelson Richard Hamit and STAR's Johnny Aput.
A total of 9,771 out of 9,959 registered voters are eligible to cast their vote on Saturday. On Feb 12, 162 out of 188 early voters cast their votes.