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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Polling day: Live updates - Voters brave rain and flash floods

Tenang by-election: Live updates

03.30pm: Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong said Fire and Rescue Department boats had to be deployed to ferry voters from Labis town to the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kamarul Ariffin polling station.

03.20pm: EC says voter turnout at 3pm was 65.19% (9,618).

02.50pm: EC says 61.17% or 9,025 voters cast their ballots as of 2pm.

2.05pm: 846 people from several villages in Tenang have been evacuated to relief centres due to floods. Among the villages are Kampung Lembah Bakti, Kg Usaha Jaya, Kg Air Panas and Kg Batu Badak.

01.30pm: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says the rain may affect the overall voter turnout but declined to say if the expected 80% turnout might be reduced.

01.20pm: EC says 55.36% or 8,167 voters cast their ballots by 1pm.

01.10pm: Heavy duty vehicles are transporting voters heading to the polling centres at Kampung Sawah Baru, Ladang Voules and Tenang station as the access roads are flooded. Polling stations remain open.

12.40pm: Police say the bridge leading to Ladang Voules is in a precarious condition and have banned heavy vehicles from using it. Armed Forces boats are on standy in case the bridge collapses.

Road to Kg Sawah Baru is now under two feet of water but voting process still not affected.

Azahar casting his vote at Kg Paya Merah centre

12.35pm: EC says 48.93% or 7,219 voters cast their ballots by 12pm.

12.20pm: PAS candidate Normala Sudirman says she is happy that many have come out to vote despite the heavy rain.

12.15pm: Police say boats are on standby at Kampung Paya Merah Lama, Kampung Air Panas and Felda Redong to ferry voters if needed.

12.10pm: EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz said all polling centres remain open and voter turn out was on track for the 80% expected by the EC.

11.55am: Tenang by-election police media officer Supt Abdul Aziz Ahmad says Jalan Segamat-Labis near the Felda Redong junction is under two feet of water along a 150m stretch.

Normala talking to EC staff when she visited SK Pekan Air Panas polling centre

He also says that entrance to Ladang North Labis is under one feet of water along a 100m stretch of the road.

However, no roads are closed as yet and all roads to polling centres are accessible to voters, he says.

11.35am: MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is visiting polling centres, is stalled by the floodwaters "I am still stuck at the Segamat-Labis stretch, the trunk road leading to many of the polling stations," said the Ayer Hitam MP.

He said Barisan leaders and workers were frantically updating each other on the flood situation and how best to help get voters to the polling stations on time.

"We had made preparations earlier but the rain is too heavy and non-stop, and we are not taking any chances," he said.

11.30am: EC says 38.66% or 5703 cast their ballots by 11am.

11.10am: Several roads leading to Bandar Labis Tengah area are partially flooded.

10.45am: EC says 24.34% or 3,591 cast their votes by 10am.

10.40am: Heavy rain still not letting up and police say that certain stretches along the Labis Segamat road near Taman Tenang Jaya are flooded.

10.15am: Barisan and PAS supporters line roads towards polling center in Felda Tenang and urge motorists to vote for their respective candidates shouting 'Hidup Barisan' while others shout 'Sokong PAS, Sokong Normala'.

10.10am: Voters continue to stream in at polling centers wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas. Many are also seen holding umbrellas with Barisan and PAS logos.

10.00am: Rain continues to pour and narrow roads leading to the polling station in Felda Tenang is congested. Flood waters are also steadily rising at several roads leading to the polling station in Pekan Air Panas.

Returning officer Md Asri Amir says all polling centres remain open.

09.43am: The Election Comission says 10.68% or 1,576 cast their votes by 9am.

09.10am: Heavy rain causes some roads in Pekan Air Panas to flood. Fire and Rescue Department officials are standing by with rescue boats fastened to their vehicles.

09.00am: Barisan candidate Mohd Azahar Ibrahim arrives at Kg Paya Merah polling centre to cast his vote. PAS supporters shout 'Tolak Tok Ai'as Barisan candidate walks in.

Mohd Azahar says he hopes voters come out to vote despite heavy downpour and threat of floods. His grandmother Esah Sulong,95, also voted at the same centre in Kg Paya Merah.

08.55am: PAS candidate Normala Sudirman arrives at Sek Keb Tenang to visit voters who are streaming into the polling center despite the rain.

8.40am: Despite the downpour, Barisan and PAS supporters are holding up posters of their respective candidates outside polling stations.

08.25am: Groups of police officers stationed outside polling areas are helping to direct traffic slowly building up in the heavy rain.

8.20am: Several voters enter Sek Kebangsaan Tenang where PAS candidate Normala Sudirman is expected to make her first visit. Normala will not be casting a vote as she is not registered in the constituency.

08.10am: First stream of voters arrive at Sek Kg Paya Merah where Barisan Nasional candidate Mohd Azahar Ibrahim will cast his vote.

08.05am: Labis MP Chua Tee Yong, visiting Labis Timor voting centre in Kampung Paya Merah multi-purpose hall, says he hopes the rain will ease by afternoon.

"It is not easy to get the voters out in this weather. I hope the voters bear with the weather and come out and vote. We hope voting goes smoothly," he says.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek also visits several polling stations in the morning.

His first stop was in Kampung Paya Merah multipurpose hall, followed by Sekolah Menangah Kebangsaan Kamarul Ariffin, Sekolah Kebangsaan Air Panas, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tenang Station and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tamil Ladang Voules. However, the rain does not deter voters, especially senior citizens and the wheelchair-bound, who are among the early birds at the Labis Timor polling centre.

08.00am: All 12 polling stations open.

07.50am: Groups of supporters and voters are already gathering outside some of the polling stations within the Tenang constituency.

07.45am: It’s raining heavily in Tenang.

TENANG: It’s polling day in the Tenang state seat which is a straight fight between Barisan Nasional’s Mohd Azahar Ibrahim and PAS’ Normala Sudirman.

Polling begins at 8am and will end at 5pm.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusoff said ballot boxes from the 12 polling centres would arrive at the counting centre at the Labis district council multipurpose hall between 6pm and 7.30pm.

Read more: Tenang by-election: Results out by 8pm http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/6tng/Article/#ixzz1CU8ORBtU Official results are expected to be out before 8pm.

There are 14,753 voters including 18 postal voters, in the constituency.

They are made up of 47.5% Malay, Chinese (39%), Indian (12%) and others at 1.5%.

The Tenang state seat fell vacant following the death of Datuk Sulaiman Taha on Dec 17.

Sulaiman had won the seat by a majority of 2,492 votes in the 2008 general election, defeating PAS’ Md Saim Siran.

This time, Barisan wants to increase its majority to above 5,000 votes. Pakatan is all out to cut the 2008 majority. The other state seat in the area is Bekok, held by Tan Kok Hong, also of Barisan.

The MP is Chua Tee Yong, who is the son of MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek. - Star

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