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Kajang polls fixed for March 23

 | February 5, 2014

The Election Commission has also set March 11 as nomination day for the Kajang state assembly seat by-election.

FULL REPORT

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission today fixed March 23 as polling day for the Kajang state assembly seat by-election, while nomination for the contest would be on March 11, with early polling on March 19.

In making this announcement here today, EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the dates were decided following a meeting at the EC headquarters this morning.

Aziz Yusof also informed the press that during the whole election period the EC will be using MPKJ Sports Complex in Section 15 Bandar Baru Bangi as the nomination centre and as the counting centre.

The EC then announced that 18 polling centres will be open for voting purposes, 15 of which are open during the normal voting day while three voting centres are set for early voters.

“The EC will deploy 673 election officials to handle to election and the cost for the Kajang by election is RM 1.6 million,” he added.

The Kajang state seat fell vacant following the resignation of incumbent assemblymen Lee Chin Cheh of PKR on Jan 27.

The state seat comprises 38,965 registered voters. At the last general election in May, 2013, the seat saw a voter turnout of 87.9% with 541 spoilt votes. It has 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%.

In the 2013 general election PKR’s Lee garnered 19,571 votes followed by Lee Ban Seng (Barisan Nasional-MCA) with 12,747 votes and Mohamad Ismail (Berjasa) 1,014 votes. The three independent candidates who contested the seat are Mohd Iwan Jefrey Abdul Majib (249 votes), Ong Yan Foo (85 votes) and Mohd Khalid Kassim (83 votes).

Lee won the seat with a comfortable 6, 824 vote majority. Except for the MCA candidate all other aspirants lost their deposits in the polls.

Kajang, well known for its satay, is located in the eastern part of Selangor in the Hulu Langat parliamentary constituency. It has a 342,657 population, consisting 60.4% Malays, 19.3% Chinese, 9.7% Indians, and 10.6% other ethnic groups.

To date only parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has declared his candidacy to contest the state by-election. BN-friendly Senator KS Nallakaruppan yesterday expressed his willingness to challenge Anwar if BN gives him the go ahead. BN however is expected to let MCA contest again.

The by-election will not have a bearing on who runs the state as Pakatan Rakyat has 44 seats in the 56-seat Selangor state assembly. The remainder 12 seats are held by the Barisan Nasional.

Sodomy appeal

Interestingly, the nomination and by-election will take place after the Attorney-General’s appeal against Anwar’s acquittal in the second sodomy case is heard on Feb 12 and 13 in Court of Appeal.

On Jan 9, last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar on a charge of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26, at Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara here, between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Also, while the EC must hold the polls within 60 days after being announced of a seat vacancy, the usual practice has always been to hold the by-elections at the earliest date possible.

However for the Kajang by-election, the EC has stretched the date closer to the 60 days maximum period.

The seat became vacant on Jan 27 and the EC was informed of the vacancy on the next day, legally allowing the EC until March 28 to hold the by-election.

The polls were being held on March 23, just five days short of the 60-day period. One reason is that the polling falls during the school holidays.

Asked on the long duration before the by-election, the EC chief said the lengthy period was needed to train new election officials and due to the sudden resignation of the incumbent Kajang assemblyman.

He also said the Commission needed time to study the geographical structure of Kajang in order to prepare for the upcoming by-election.

“We need some time to train our people. It is important that the election proceeds smoothly without any untoward incident. That is why the gap is long,” he said.

“For the by-election we also need to study the geographical area of Kajang. All these are important to us. We want nothing but a smooth election,” he added.

Aziz Yusof also said the EC would use new formulated indelible ink which, according to him,  is better than that used during the May, 2013 general election.

“We will be using a better ink than the last election we had. Because we are preparing all of these, it will take us some time,” he said.


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