Permatang Pasir polling day Aug 25, nomination Aug 17

(The Star) – Nomination day for the Permatang Pasir by-election has been fixed for Aug 17 and polling will be on Aug 25, Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said here on Monday.

Results for the by-election will be announced at “8pm sharp barring technical problems” in view of Ramadan, whether the winner or his agent is present or not, he added.

Aug 25 is the fourth day of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Azizi Mohd Yusof, flanked by his deputy Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (left) and EC secretary Datuk Ngak Senilat, announcing the date of nomination and polling days for N11 Permatang Pasir by-election at the EC office in Putrajaya on Monday. – Starpic by Rohaizat Md Darus

“Since it is the fasting month and Muslims want to take part in religious activities, we will ensure the results of the Permatang Pasir by-election will be announced at 8pm, barring any technicalities.

“We will announce the results even if the winner or his agent is not there as their presence during the announcement is not required by law,” he told a press conference.

This will be the eighth by-election since the March 2008 general election, the others being held at Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau, Batang Ai, Penanti and Manek Urai.

The Permatang Pasir state seat was left vacant when its assemblyman Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman died at the National Heart Centre in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.

Mohd Hamdan, a two-term state assemblyman and former Penang PAS commissioner, was 60.

Aziz also announced that the setting up of stalls to assist voters and stationing party supporters to canvass for last-minute votes would not be allowed on polling day.

“The election laws are clear on this but the Commission had given concessions to political parties during the Penanti and Manek Urai by-elections because they had promised there would be no last-minute canvassing of votes.

“While the parties had kept their word during Penanti (by-election), the rule was ‘bull-dozed’ in Manek Urai, so much so it inconvenienced voters who wanted to cast their ballots.

“Based on this, we have decided not to allow any political parties to set up polling booths or canvass for votes on polling day, and the police will help us ensure the law is adhered to.

“I must however stress that the decision is made from our observation and not due to pressure from any quarters,” he added.

Asked if the winning candidate could be stripped off the wakil rakyat (elected representative) title if his agents or party was found to have canvassed for last-minute votes, Aziz said this could happen if the winner or his agents were found to have violated any election laws.

The Commission has set aside a budget of RM550,000 to run the Permatang Pasir by-election for 423 personnel, eight polling centres and 38 polling streams.

The constituency has 20,289 voters (including one postal voter), 72.36% of them Malay, 25.85% Chinese, 1.63% Indian and 0.16% “others.”