Sarawak Polls: Polling centres open, voting starts 7.30 am

By BERNAMA

KUCHING, Dec 18 — The voting process for the 12th Sarawak election began at 7.30 am today with the opening of 1,866 polling centres involving 3,555 channels for Sarawakians to elect a new state government.

The process, involving 1,213,769 ordinary voters out of 1,252,014 registered voters, will be managed by some 46,565 election officials in all 82 state seats until polling ends at 5 pm.

Depending on the number of voters in the constituencies, some could be closed as early as noon, like the Tadika Kemas Kg Soh, which is under the Muara Tuang constituency, as it has just 97 voters.

On Dec 14, a total of 18,141 out of 20,360 registered early voters had cast their votes while 17,885 voted by post.

According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the weather this morning is forecast to be clear throughout the state. 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.

As the country is still battling the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters are urged to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) including, among others, observing physical distancing, wearing face masks, screening of body temperature and scanning of the MySejahtera mobile application quick response (QR) code before entering polling centres.

Voters with symptoms and do not pass the body temperature screening will still be allowed to vote in a special tent monitored by health officials, while persons under surveillance (PUS) and persons under investigation (PUI) will need to seek approval from the district health officer to go to the polling centre.

To avoid crowding at the 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.

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 females, 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).

Campaigning for the polls was conducted in the new normal and in strict compliance with the stipulated SOP, with physical campaigning allowed in 64 seats identified as having poor Internet coverage.