Two early voting centres for the Tanjong Datu state by-election, comprising Lundu Community Hall in Kampung Sungai Lundu and Sempadi Camp ULS Hall opened at 8 am today.
A total of 188 voters or 1.9 per cent of the 9,959 registered voters in the by-election comprised early voters who would cast their votes at these two centres this morning.
These two centres are among 18 polling stations provided by the Election Commission (EC) to enable 9,959 voters in the Tanjong Datu state constituency elect their representative, with polling day set on Feb 18.
The Tanjong Datu by-election is being held following the death of its incumbent, who was also Sarawak’s fifth Chief Minister Adenan Satem, from heart complications on Jan 11 at the Sarawak Heart Centre, Kota Samarahan.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the by-election is Adenan’s widow Jamilah Anu.
Meanwhile at the Kampung Sungai Lundu Community Hall, Sgt Major Mohd Johan Abdullah from the Sarawak Contingent Police Headquartes was the first police personnel to cast his early vote there.
Mohd Johan said he came from Kampung Stunggang Dayak, a village in Tanjong Datu and had been exercising his right to vote since he was 25 years old.
According to statistics from the EC, 101 police personnel and their spouses would be voting early in this community hall today.
A Bernama survey revealed media practitioners had thronged the compound of the community hall as early as 7.30 am.
At present it is still raining heavily since last night in Lundu.
The intermitent early morning rain also did not hinder military personnel and their spouses from casting their votes at the Firing Range Unit of the Sempadi military camp near here.
Some 87 people are expected to cast their votes a the centre, which opens from 8am until 5pm.
EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah and Sarawak EC director Takun Sunggah and First Divison Military Commander Maj-Gen Stephen Mundaw were among those who observed the early voting process at the camp.
Police, meanwhile have approved and issued 20 campaign permits for the Tanjong Datu state by-election so far.
Lundu District Police chief DSP Wong Chee Keong said all the permits were requested by BN.
“So far we have not received any applications for campaign permit from the two other candidates. Only BN applied for a permit as of now,” he said when met at the early voting centre in the Kampung Sungai Lundu Community Hall this morning.
Jamilah is being challenged by Rapelson Richard Hamit from Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Baru and Johnny Aput from State Reform Party (Star).
Wong said the campaign period was under control so far with no untoward incident reported.
Asked on plans on polling day on Feb 18, he said the police had devised the best method to ensure the process runs smoothly.
“We will deploy adequate peronnel to ensure smooth traffic flow and security for all,” he said.
The Election Commission has set the Lundu Community Hall as the centre for nomination of candidates, tallying centre and counting centre for early votes. –Bernama