SANDAKAN: Polling centres for the Sandakan by-election have recorded a 37% voter turnout as of 1pm on Saturday (May 11).
SK Tanjung Papat - whose voters are mainly from the Muslim dominated Kg Sim Sim and Pulau Berhala - saw a higher turnout while other polling stations were generally slow with more older Chinese voters turning up earlier in the morning.
The Election Commission is expecting a 70% turnout while observers believe that turnout could be as low as 60% for the by-election.
Some 39,684 constituents are expected to cast their votes today, from the total figure of 40,131 voters under the Sandakan parliamentary constituency.
Information Department vans were seen going around housing estates calling out to voters to cast their votes. The announcements were made in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.
According to the electoral rolls, 51% of the voters in Sandakan are Chinese, 45% are Muslim bumiputra and the rest are of other races.
Some 49.48% of the voters are male and the rest are female.
On May 7, about 75% of the 270 early voters comprising police officers and rank-and-file personnel cast their ballots.
Earlier, banter between members of former allies in Parti Warisan Sabah and Sabah Umno caused a stir when independent candidate Hamzah Abdullah complained to Election Commission observer Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin.
The Warisan members supporting DAP's Vivian Wong and Sabah Umno supporters of PBS's Linda Tsen were seen teasing and calling each other "kataks" (frogs) outside the SK Tanjung Papat 1 polling centre.
They were also seen chasing voters to the gates, and this triggered Hamzah to file complaints about party workers campaigning and canvassing within the 50m barrier around the polling centre.
Hamzah was seen complaining to Lajim, and Lajim was later seen listening to the various parties before the situation cooled off.
The by-election was called following the death of two-term DAP MP Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt on March 28.
Linda, who is supported by a coalition of opposition parties, is taking on the late Stephen's daughter Vivian in a five-cornered fight.