Polling begins for Balingian by-election


(The Star) – Polling for the Balingian by-election began at 8am Saturday after 12 days of campaigning.

Some 13,233 ordinary voters are eligible to cast their ballots at 21 polling stations across the constituency.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof has advised voters to come out early to vote as the polling stations will close at different times.

Two stations – SK Kuala Kenyana with 152 voters and Rumah Kumbong (272 voters) – will close at 2pm, while six will close at 3pm and nine an hour later.

Only four stations in and around Mukah town will open until 5pm.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to vote. Check your polling station so that you don’t come after it has closed,” Abdul Aziz said during a press conference Friday.

An election worker assisting a senior citizen in a wheelchair to the polling stream at the Kampung Tellian Tengah community hall during polling in the Balingian by-election. – ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE /THE STAR


He also reminded voters that their left forefingers would be dipped in indelible ink first before their ballot papers were issued.

The Balingian state seat fell vacant when its assemblyman and former Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud resigned on Feb 28 to be appointed as Sarawak’s Yang di-Pertua Negri.

The contest is a straight fight between Barisan Nasional candidate Yussibnosh Balo, 47, and Abdul Jalil Bujang, 55, from PKR.

More than half the voters in Balingian are Melanau, who make up 57.6%, followed by the Iban (29%) and Chinese (12.6%).