CHUKAI: As many expected, Perikatan Nasional has retained the Kemaman parliamentary seat in the by-election.
As at press time on Saturday (Dec 2), unofficial results show that Perikatan candidate Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar has amassed an unassailable lead of more than 54,000 votes.
Samsuri's lead is close to double the votes of Barisan Nasional candidate, retired general Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, who has only managed about 23,500 votes.
The official vote count is still going on at the Kemaman Municipal Council hall here as at 8.30pm on Saturday.
Ahmad Samsuri, Terengganu's popular Mentri Besar, had been tipped to secure the seat for Perikatan after his administration was widely credited for the coalition's astounding victory in the August state polls.
Perikatan historically made a clean sweep of all 32 seats in a state that had been a Barisan Nasional stronghold since the 1960s.
In the 15th General Election in November 2022, Perikatan managed to win all eight parliamentary seats in Terengganu, including Kemaman.
During GE15, Perikatan won Kemaman by a majority of 27,179 votes but the victory was nullified by the Terengganu Election Court.
In GE15, Che Alias Hamid of PAS polled 65,714 votes. He was in a four-cornered fight with Barisan's Ahmad Said who garnered 38,535 votes, Pakatan's Hasuni Sudin (8,340) and Pejuang's Rosli Abd Ghani (506).
The court found that elements of bribery had occurred during campaigning for GE15 and declared the seat vacant, leading to the by-election.
There are a total of 141,000 eligible electors in the parliamentary seat. The Election Commission announced that as of 4pm, only 60% had turned up to vote.