Smooth voting in Batang Ai

(Bernama) LUBOK ANTU, 7 April 2009: Polling in the Batang Ai state seat by-election has proceeded without any hitch at all 25 polling stations that opened at 8am today.

The Election Commission (EC) is deploying helicopters to reach polling stations, especially in remote areas, including in Ulu Engkari.

Boats are also being used to transport ballot boxes in localities that are navigable by river as the counting of votes will begin by 6pm once voting centres close at 5pm today.

Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, who is facing Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s Jawah Gerang in a straight fight, cast his vote at Rumah Renggie Bukong under the Klampu polling station at 9.09am.

His rival, Jawah, who is also the former five-term Lubok Antu Member of Parliament, exercised his democratic right at SK Nanga Kumpang under the Sayat polling station in Engkilili.    

The weather in most parts of the constituency is reported to be fine in the morning, with several places still flooded due to the rain last night.

At the Lubok Antu bazaar, coffee shops are doing a brisk business as voters come to cast their votes at the nearby SMK Lubok Antu.

Party workers are busy transporting groups of voters, who have gathered at various pick-up points, to the polling stations.

Lubok Antu district police chief DSP George Merejok, who was at the polling station here to monitor the situation, said polling in the constituency was incident-free so far.

About 850 police personnel have been mobilised and three police helicopters are on standby to maintain security, he told Bernama

Members of Malaysian For Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) are acting as observers in this by-election.