KOTA KINABALU: Preparations for the Sabah polls have been completed, with the Election Commission (EC) sending out ballot boxes to rural and interior areas.
Land and air travels are being used to transport these ballot boxes and other related items, starting Friday (Sept 25) morning.
EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said that preparations for the polls went on smoothly.
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“As of 10.30am on Friday (Sept 25), most heads of polling stations have finalised and completed what is needed for Saturday’s (Sept 26) elections, ” he said.
He reminded voters to follow the time suggested to come out to vote to ensure a smooth flow on polling day amid the Covid-19 concerns and SOPs in place.
“Voting centres will be closed at 5pm sharp so please follow the time suggested to come out to vote if possible, ” Abdul Ghani said.
He hopes all results will be in by 10pm after closing time, but it all depends on the retaining officers of each polling centre.
“We have prepared 20 helicopters to take and deliver ballot boxes from the interior and in cases of bad weather where the use of helicopters are not allowed, there are four-wheel-drive vehicles as well as boats to transport these boxes here, ” he said.
On health and safety concerns, Abdul Ghani gave his assurance that the people’s safety would be their utmost priority.
“There are health officials on duty and there are also special areas set up to screen and test people with Covid-19 symptoms, ” he said.
He said everyone will have their temperature screened and hands sanitised before entering the polling stations.
“Those who show signs of being unwell will be taken to the test area for screening and checking, ” Abdul Ghani said.
Asked on the possibility of phantom voters casting their votes, he said there won’t be a chance as all those who will cast their ballots are registered voters.
“Those coming with the temporary identification documents (due to loss of MyKad or other reasons) will be double-checked, ” he said.
He urged those with information on election offences to report to the counters which have been set up at polling centres.
“We have so far received 10 complaints and made an arrest on election offences as of Sept 24, ” he said.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said a total of 171 reports with regards to election offences have been received by the police, out of which 97 are related to Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi’s statement on the Ops Daulat.
He said for the state elections on Saturday, police officials will be on standby at various locations to ensure a smooth polling process.
“We have a total of 284 personnel under quarantine but that’s not a problem because we already have another 497 officials from Sarawak to assist us. Roadblocks will be manned after the election closes, we want to make sure that there won’t be any provocation or any problem when the results are in, ” Hazani said.
Hazani urged all voters to bring their valid identification documents to vote.
“We have an online system to check the authenticity of all identification documents and those with dubious ones will have to be screened first, ” he said.
Asked if there is going to be a lockdown in any parts of Sabah in view of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, he said, “no”.
“There won’t be a total lockdown but we might see some areas have some kind of limit in movements and travels, but these are not final yet as we still have to discuss it further with other authorities, ” Hazani said.
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