Chini voters break EC target with 73% turnout

An Orang Asli voter cleansing her hands before casting her ballot at the Chini by-election today. (Bernama pic)

PEKAN: Voter turnout at the Chini by-election has exceeded expectations with 73.87% of the 20,816 voters having cast their ballots today.

The Election Commission had hoped at least 70% would turn out.

Voting began at 8am at 13 voting centres, involving 65 channels, and ended at 5.30pm.

EC deputy chairman, Azmi Sharom, said procedures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic had been well complied with. However, he also admitted that some found it hard to follow social distancing protocols.

As for security, there have been no reports of untoward incidents with police presence evident at all locations near polling centres.

No police roadblocks have been sighted so far, but they would be mounted along Jalan Kuantan-Segamat which leads to the tallying centre at the National Youth Skills Institute here. The authorities are attempting to prevent large crowding by supporters, except for those with special passes.

The Chini state by-election is a three-cornered fight between Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, of Barisan Nasional, a Felda Chini second-generation settler, and two independent candidates, businessman Tengku Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49.

The by-election was held following the death of assemblyman Abu Bakar Harun, 60, from a heart attack on May 7. He had been Chini state assemblyman since 2004.

The by-election is the first to be held since travel and hygiene restrictions were enforced since March 18.

Abu Bakar retained the seat in 2018 with a majority of 4,622 votes, after securing 10,027 votes against PAS candidate Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim, who obtained 5,405 votes and PKR’s Mohamad Razali Ithnain, with 1,065 votes.

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