KUCHING, Dec 18 — Overcast skies and heavy rain have not hampered the voting process of the 12th Sarawak state election so far after 1,866 polling centres were opened since 7.30 am.
In Kuching, the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud arrived at the Satok Sports Complex at 11.40 am to cast his ballot for the Satok constituency, which is seeing a three-cornered contest.
Earlier, Chief Minister and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg also voted at the same voting centre at 10 am, accompanied by his wife Puan Sri Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang.
Abang Johari has been the incumbent for the Satok seat since 1981 before deciding to switch to Gedong in this election. GPS’ Datuk Ibrahim Baki will now contest in Satok against Awang Badele Awg Ali from Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and Nor Irwan Ahmat Nor (PKR).
Four federal ministers also voted today, namely Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
Fadillah cast his ballot at SK Rakyat Jalan Haji Bolhassan here, which is one of the polling centres for the Satok seat, Wan Junaidi at SK Sungai Maong Hilir, Kuching (Batu Lintang seat), Nanta at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Hock Lam, Kapit (Bukit Goram seat) and Nancy voted at Dewan Kampung Panglima Seman Lama, Kuching (Pantai Damai seat).
In Betong, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, his wife Datuk Doreen Mayang and their three children voted at Rumah Mendit Unsu in Paku for the Bukit Saban seat which he is defending.
Another deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, along with his wife, Datuk Dayang Morliah Awang Daud voted at SK Kampung Seberang, Kuala Lawas at 11.10 am for the Bukit Sari constituency, the seat he will be defending again since first contesting in 1987.
Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president and State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, meanwhile, voted at SJK Chung Hua Sungai Tapang Hilir, here at 11.30 am for the Batu Kawah seat which he has been incumbent since 2016.
In Miri, candidates contesting in the northern region of Sarawak began arriving at their respective polling centres as early as 7.30 am.
Piasau GPS candidate Datuk Sebastian Ting was among the first voters to arrive at the SK Jalan Bintang polling center when it opened at 7.30 am while his challenger, DAP candidate Peter Hee voted at SK St Joseph at about 7.40 am.
In Pujut, GPS candidate Adam Yii Siew Sang voted at SMK Dato Permaisuri at 7.45 am, while the coalition’s Senadin seat candidate Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin cast his ballot at SMK Baru, Miri.
GPS candidate for Marudi, Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, meanwhile voted at SK Sungai Entulang, Beluru.
In Sibu, heavy rain and strong winds since 7.30 am nearly damaged the health workers’ canopy, forcing them to shift to a safer place.
Despite the bad weather, the voting process went on smoothly, with Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, who is contesting the Bawang Assan seat, along with main challenger Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew from GPS, among those who voted at the SJKC Chung Hua polling centre.
Meanwhile, State Police Commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail said the situation at polling centres was calm and under control.