Updated 11.50am on 14 July 2009
KUALA KRAI, 14 July 2009: Some 87.33% or 10,736 out of 12,293 voters cast their votes in the Manik Urai state by-election, polling of which closed at 5pm today.
Election Commission (EC) chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the turnout was higher than the EC’s target of 85%, and is among the highest in the country’s by-election history,
Counting of votes will now begin at each of the polling stations, after which they will be tallied at the Dewan Petra, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Yahya Petra 1, here. The result is expected at 8pm.
Polling, which began at 8am, was brisk, but was marred by an incident involving supporters of both the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Two Puteri Umno supporters were injured when they were hit by stones thrown by unidentified persons at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Peria polling station here.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the incident took place at about noon when supporters of both parties were gathering at the polling station, with one side of supporters taunting the other group.
“This caused a quarrel among them that led to the stone-throwing incident. One of the stones hit a Puteri Umno member on the hip, causing it to swell, while another member broke her teeth in the incident,” he told a news conference in Laloh near here.
Police arrested a PAS supporter at the scene, and are investigating the matter under the Section 323 of the Penal Code for causing hurt. Musa said the victims had been sent to Kuala Krai Hospital, and that police reports had been lodged.
Abdul AzizAziz expressed disappointment that an earlier agreement reached between the EC and the contesting parties that supporters stay at least 50m away from the polling stations was not followed.
“It appears that the EC’s advice and the agreement with the parties were not observed. We will have to keep this in mind in future by-elections and general elections,” he told reporters after visiting the polling station where the incident took place.
Commenting on BN and PR supporters parading in cars with their respective party flags — an act that is prohibited — Aziz said the EC would seek the police’s help to overcome this.
Musa added that he had instructed Kelantan police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi to take action as it could endanger other road users. “They were also putting themselves to risk as the flags could obstruct the
drivers’ view,” he said.
Bernama also reported that PAS supporters used nasty and provocative language on Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when the deputy prime minister visited the polling district in Chuchoh Puteri and five other districts.
Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said he was surprised that the PAS supporters could resort to such behaviour when they claimed to be championing Islam.
“It does not matter. Perhaps, I may get more rewards in the hereafter,” he told reporters after a visit to Chuchoh Puteri here.
Muhyiddin said the attitude of the PAS supporters could be driven by political sentiments and their desire to win the by-election at all costs, although it was contrary to Islamic principles.
The by-election is being held following the death of the incumbent from PAS, Ismail Yaacob, on 22 May 2009. — Bernama