SEMENYIH: There was a 78% turnout among early voters for the Semenyih by-election, compared to 87% during the 14th General Election last year.
Early voters cast their ballots at polling centres in the General Operations Force (PGA) Battalion 4 camp and the Kajang district police headquarters.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun and his team of newly-minted commissioners arrived at the PGA camp 10.05am yesterday to observe the voting.
Reporting for duty for the first time was deputy EC chairman Prof Dr Azmi Sharom along with other commissioners – Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim, Datuk Chin Phaik Yoong, Dr Faisal S. Hazis and Zoe Randhawa.
Also with them was Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin.
Azhar said 858 early voters were slotted to cast their votes for the Semenyih state seat yesterday, while another 93 had already carried out their rights via post.
He said the ballot papers for the early voters would not be tabulated at the polling centres yet but would be securely kept at the police station.
The votes would be counted at the vote-tallying centre on March 2 in the presence of the candidates’ agents.
Throughout the campaign period, more than 20 police reports had been filed against candidates from various parties, he added, with some of the cases involved holding a ceramah without a permit.
The more serious complaints involve offers to repair houses and the distributions of hampers, he said.
“Anyone with accurate and direct information should report the incidents to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),” he told reporters at the PGA camp yesterday.
He clarified that the role of the EC was to supervise the election and that the body did not have investigative or powers to prosecute.
“The EC supervises the election, we disseminate the guidelines – which are based on the regulations and the law.
“We will observe the candidates and the activities they are involved in to ensure they are following the rules,” said Azhar.
“Firstly, if there are any incidents that contravene election laws, the individual with direct facts (about the matter) should make a report to the police or the MACC.
“Secondly, the incident could be used as a reason to challenge the election result in an election petition,” he added.
He said breaking election law was like breaking any other law in the country, so a formal report needed to be lodged before action could be taken by the authorities.
Meanwhile, with only several days to go before Semenyih goes to the polls, candidates said they were ramping up efforts to vie for support.
Pakatan Harapan candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali said he had covered 70% of the ground in Semenyih and hoped to keep up the momentum in the coming days.
“We will be more aggressive, we will be more swift in the next three days,” he said at the PGA polling centre.
Muhammad Aiman lauded Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s proposal to build another health clinic in Semenyih.
“Perhaps later we will have the opportunity to suggest for a hospital to be built here,” he said.
Dr Dzulkefly, who is also Parti Amanah Negara strategic director, had been to Semenyih on Monday night for a ceramah.
Barisan Nasional candidate Zakaria Hanafi said he aimed to cover all ground in Semenyih before the end of campaigning.
Zakaria said he understood the concerns of locals because he is from Semenyih.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia candidate Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul said the party had campaigned throughout the whole constituency and was now on its second round.
“I want to try to meet as many voters (as possible), especially the younger ones,” he said.
Independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng, also known as Uncle Kentang, said he had done all his ground work at most of the polling districts.
“Next I will look into speaking more with voters,” he said, adding that the early voting process has been good so far.