KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) has identified nine state assembly constituencies as 'hot seats' during the April 16 Sarawak state election, said EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
The constituencies are Pantai Damai, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawa, Kedup, Repok, Palawan, Nangka and the Balingian seat to be contested by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The EC has set up 80 special monitoring teams for the election and two would be assigned to the nine 'hot seat' areas.
"The decision was made following previous experiences encountered during campaigning and the close competition, results for the seats in the past elections," he told reporters here on Monday.
He said the monitoring teams would be empowered to take action against any misdeeds during campaigning under the Election Offences Act 1954.
Wan Ahmad was also optimistic that the number of voters coming out to cast their votes would increase from the previous election due to the increase in awareness among the people.
"We are also hoping for good weather to prevail during polling day," he said adding that nomination for the Sarawak election has been set for April 6.
The Sarawak state legislative assembly that was dissolved last week has 71 seats, with Barisan Nasional winning 63 seats through Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) (35), Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) (12), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) (8) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) (8).
Opposition party DAP has six seats while Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) account for one each.
Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad said the EC would also seek the help of neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Indonesia to provide helicopters to be used for transportation of voters through the election process.
"We will also procure more boats and four-wheel drive vehicles to help during the election," he said. - Bernama
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