Chempaka By-Election: EC Expects 70% Voter Turnout

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KOTA BHARU – The Election Commission (EC) is hoping that more than 70 per cent of the 20,390 normal voters in the Chempaka state constituency would exercise their responsibility tomorrow.

Its deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said there was no reason why the voters could not turn up to cast their votes as the weather had improved, and safety ensured with the presence of security personnel.

“We hope the fine weather stays tomorrow for the voters to cast their ballots without hassle,” he told reporters after scrutinising EC’s final preparations at Dewan Bitara Maktab Rendah Sains MARA, Pengkalan Chepa today.

Also present at the ballot counting centre here were EC secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh and Kelantan EC director Mohamad Mahmud.

Mohd Hashim said 403 workers appointed by the EC had been briefed on their respective duties in the polling process.

On the low percentage of early voters on Wednesday, he said EC would conducta study and improve the existing system where needed.

“I cannot make a conclusion because we still have to study the matter. I believe EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz will make a statement to the media later.

“But we will definitely make changes and improvement, and if necessary, coordinate with relevant parties,” he said.

On Wednesday, only 35.40 per cent or 530 of the 1,497 early voters comprising army personnel and their spouses cast their votes, short of the 70 per cent targeted by the EC.

The Chempaka by-election was called following the demise of its representative, former Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat on Feb 12 due to prostate cancer.

The by-election will see a five-corner fight between PAS and four Independent candidates.

PAS is represented by its Chempaka Theology Management chief Ahmad Fathan Mahmood@ Mahamad, 42, while his contenders are former lecturer Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary, 48, and Kelantan Perkasa ex vice president Sharif Mahmood, 59.

Two others are Fadzillah Hussin, 55, who heads the Association of Royal Descendants of Cik Siti Wan Kembang, and retired Health Ministry employee Aslah Mamat, 64. – BERNAMA