Record low turnout in Bukit Gelugor?


Athi Shankar, FMT

It looks like the Bukit Gelugor by-election will record among the all-time lowest turnout of voters in the country electoral history.

Sources revealed that until 4pm only about 45% or 37,093 of Bukit Gelugor’s 82,431 voters had turned up to vote.

Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency has 61,267 (74.33%) Chinese, 11,913 (14.46%) Malays, 8,848 (10.73%) Indians and 403 (0.49%) others.

Pre-election predictions have all pointed to a low-voter turnout, probably at 65%, as the by-election was considered a low-key affair.

Even the Election Commission expected a 78% turnout.

Ramkarpal Singh Deo, 38, of DAP faces Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Huan Cheng Guan, 53, and independent candidates Nabi Bux Mohamed Nabi Abd Sathar, 63, and Abu Backer Sidek Mohamad Zan, 46, in a four-cornered by-election battle for Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency.

Pre-election favourite Ramkarpal wanted a 75%-80% turnout to help him to win big, emulating his late father Karpal Singh’s massive majority to win the seat in 2013 general election.

The late Karpal polled 55,839 votes to score a majority victory of 41,778 votes against BN candidate Teh Beng Yeam’s 14,061.

Huan wanted a low turnout to enable him to secure the required 12% of votes to save his RM10,000 election deposit.

The current trend suggests Huan may achieve his electoral goal.

With an hour to go before balloting closes and vote-counting starts at all 17 polling stations, the turnout could fall well below 55%.

Despite the poor turnout, Ramkarpal is still favourite to win the seat, albeit much lower than expected majority.

A low majority will be a massive blow to DAP’s pride and ego.

The by-election is being held following the death of Karpal Singh in a car accident near Kampar, Perak on April 17.