Chini polls: Voters say new normal makes voting easier, faster

PEKAN (Bernama): The "new normal" which everybody has to observe at Saturday's (July 4) polling day for the Chini state by-election seems not a burden to voters, instead, it makes it easier for them to exercise their right as responsible citizens.

Bernama talked to some of the voters and they all concurred that the new normal made the voting process smoother and faster, compared to the experience they had at previous elections.

Mohd Ali Ismail Ideris, 32, a person with disability (OKU) who cast his vote at Felda Chini 3 Quran and Fardu Ain (Kafa) Class, said he hoped some of the changes that were implemented in this by-election would be maintained at future elections as they were user-friendly for people like him.

"I came (to the polling station) according to the time recommended by the Election Commission (EC) and I did not have to wait long. Everything was done in less than 10 minutes, despite having to go through the necessary procedures, like having my body temperature checked.

"It was easy because I knew which polling stream to go to. Before (in previous elections), I used to have to wait for half-an-hour to vote, despite arriving at 8am because everybody arrived at the polling station at the same time," he added.

Mohd Ali, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident 12 years ago, also said the assistance provided by the election workers in facilitating movement of voters at the polling station prevented the presence of many people there.

For Salmah Sidek, 76, from Felda Chini 3, who is wheelchair-bound, said this by-election provided her with a new experience.

"It was easy because there were people (EC staff) around to help, including to put on the glove for me before I cast my vote.

"At the previous election, I had a finger dipped in permanent ink after I had cast my vote, this time they (EC staff) used brush to mark my finger with the ink," she added.

A private sector employee, Mohd Asrul Ishak, 39, who left Cheras, in Kuala Lumpur, at 4am today to arrive here in time for polling, said he was impressed by the preparations made by the EC in ensuring a smooth election process in keeping with the SOP to curb the spread of Covid-19.

"There was no where crowded with people at the polling station, as well as at the tent to check the body temperature, at the waiting area or the attendance counter," he said, adding that policemen were present to remind voters to comply with the SOP, including on social distancing.

Another voter, Wan Mahani Wan Ali, 66, said she went to the polling station based on the time stated on her voter's card, which was between 8 am and 10 am, to avoid the crowd.

As for her children, she said, there were recommended to go out to their respective polling station after 10am.

"I kept reminding them to follow the time recommended by the EC in their voter's card. There are reasons as to why the EC did so," she added.

The Chini state by-election is a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional's (BN), Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, who is a Felda Chini second-generation settler, and two independent candidates, businessman Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49.

The by-election was held following the death of incumbent Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, 60, at Kuala Lumpur Hospital due to a heart attack on May 7. Abu Bakar was Chini state assemblyman since the 11th General Election in 2004.

In GE14, Abu Bakar retained the Chini state seat with a majority of 4,622 votes, after securing 10,027 votes against PAS candidate Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim, who obtained 5,405 votes and PKR's Mohamad Razali Ithnain, with 1,065 votes. - Bernama

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