SEREMBAN, April 9 — Early voting has been completed in the Rantau state by-election.
The two polling stations — at the Sendayan air base and the Rantau police station - closed at noon. They had opened at 8am to enable 74 military personnel and their spouses to vote at the air base and 36 police personnel to vote at the police station.
The early voting was witnessed by the agents of the by-election candidates and observers appointed by the Election Commission (EC).
It was also witnessed by EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun; Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Dr S. Streram; Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and one of the two independent candidates, R. Malarvizhi.
The ballot boxes will be kept at the police station lock-up and will be opened for the counting of the ballots, after polling on Saturday, at the vote-tallying centre at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Bandar Sri Sendayan.
Besides Dr Streram, Mohamad and Malarvizhi, former lecturer Mohd Nor Yassin is also contesting the by-election, polling for which is on Saturday.
Rantau has 118 early voters. Eight of them are voting by post.
At the Rantau police station, there was a drizzle as the voters cast their ballots. The weather was fine at the Sendayan air base where a polling station was set up for the first time.
Azhar Azizan, at a press conference, said the early voting was completed smoothly. The police media relations officer for the Rantau by-election, DSP Ahmad Jamaluddin, said the process went without any incident.
Dr Streram, Mohamad and Malarvizhi, when approached by reporters after the voting, said they were satisfied with the process.
The Rantau state constituency, spread over 15,960.74 hectares, has 20,926 registered electors comprising 20,804 ordinary voters, 118 early voters and four absentee voters.
Up to 55.51 per cent or 11,615 of the voters are Malays; 18.46 per cent or 3,863 Chinese; 26 per cent 5,441 Indians and 0.03 per cent or seven others.
The Rantau by-election is the seventh after the 14th General Election (GE14) held on May 9, 2018, the others being the by-elections for the Sungai Kandis state seat on Aug 4 last year; Balakong and Seri Setia state seats on Sept 8 last year; Port Dickson parliamentary seat on Oct 13 last year; Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat on Jan 26 this year and Semenyih state seat on March 2 this year.
It is a four-cornered contest in Rantau, involving Dr Streram, Mohamad, Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor.
It has been necessitated by the Federal Court dismissal of an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside the Nov 16 Seremban Election Court decision declaring his unopposed victory in the 14th General Election (GE14) null and void.
In GE14, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after Dr Streram was prohibited from entering the nomination centre to submit his nomination papers because he did not have a pass issued by the EC. — Bernama