PUTRAJAYA : Malaysia will see its eighth by-election since the 14th general election last May, with voters in Sandakan going back to the ballot boxes on May 11.
The Election Commission (EC) expects about a 70% voter turnout and has fixed nomination on April 27 along with early voting on May 7.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said the average turnout for the past six by-elections were above 60%, with the highest recorded during Semenyih polls at 72%.
The lowest is turnout was the Balakong by-election with 48% coming out to vote.
“The average is good, considering the peak which was on May 9 (general election) was less than a year ago,” he said after announcing the key dates for the Sandakan polls.
By-elections had also been held for Sungai Kandis, Balakong, Seri Setia, Port Dickson, Cameron Highlands and Semenyih.
Campaigning for the seventh, the Rantau by-election in Negri Sembilan, is on-going.
The Sandakan by-election will cost the EC RM3.1mil to run with 760 workers to be duty at 21 polling stations.
A total of 40,131 voters are eligible to take part in the by-election with 39,856 being normal voters, 270 early voters and five are absentee voters.
On another matter, Azhar said the EC had not received report on claims that children were “used” at an event held during campaign in Rantau. “I’m not sure if this is an offence under the Children Protection Act, need to check with the relevant authorities,” he said.
Pakatan Harapan was alleged to have used children during a campaign for its candidate Dr S. Streram of PKR in Taman Orkid recently. Photos of children on a stage during what is believed to be at a campaign function had gone viral
Azhar said preparations for early voting on April 9 was well underway and expected to be smooth as the number of voters involved were only 118 at two polling centres.