by BERNAMA / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
KUCHING – Come Saturday (Dec 18), all eyes will be on Sarawak as the electorate goes to the polls to choose the coalition or party that will form the next state government.
As soon as the campaign period for the 12th state election ends at 11.59 pm tomorrow, focus will shift to the 1,951 polling centres in the 82 constituencies, where the people of Sarawak will decide on the fate of the 349 candidates vying for the seats.
Of the 1,252,014 registered voters, 1,213,769 will cast their ballots on Saturday from 7.30 am to 5 pm. Of the 20,360 early voters, 18,141 had cast their votes on Dec 14 while 17,885 voted by post.
Depending on the number of voters in the constituencies, some could be closed as early as at noon, like the Tadika Kemas Kg Soh, which is under the Muara Tuang constituency, as it has just 97 voters.
The Election Commission (EC) expects the full official results around midnight.
As for the voting process, the EC has outlined strict standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure the health of the people in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic while addressing the demands of democracy.
Among the SOP that must be adhered to is physical distancing, wearing of face masks, using hand sanitiser, screening of body temperature and scanning of MySejahtera mobile application quick response (QR) code before entering polling centres.
Voters are also advised to check their voting information through the MySPR Semak application or the EC’s portal at https://pengundi.spr.gov.my/ before going out to vote.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) forecasts clear weather on the morning of the election.
However, thunderstorms are expected in the evening in several divisions including in Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Serian, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu and Mukah.
Rain is also forecast in Kapit and Bintulu in the evening while the temperature throughout the day is expected to be between 24 and 34 degrees Celcius.
There will be 13 three-cornered fights; four-cornered (33); five-cornered (24); six-cornered (seven); and eight-cornered (one). There will also be four straight fights.
Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is fielding 82 candidates for the polls, followed by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) 73, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) 70, Parti Keadilan Rakat (PKR) 28, DAP 26, Parti Aspirasi Rakyat Sarawak (Aspirasi) 15, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) 11, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) eight, Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) five and PAS one.
Thirty independent candidates are in the fray as well.
Of the total candidates, 304 are males while 45 are women, with 47 candidates aged 18 to 40, aged 41-50 (56 candidates), aged 51-60 (119), aged 61-70 (117) and aged 71 and above (10).