Simultaneous by-elections for Batu Sapi, Galas

PUTRAJAYA, Friday 15 October 2010 (Bernama) -- The Election Commission (EC) today set Nov 4 for the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election in Sabah, the same day as the Galas state by-election in Kelantan.

The nomination day is on Oct 26.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the EC decided to hold the by-elections simultaneously based on its previous experience of holding three simultaneous by-elections -- for the Bukit Gantang in Perak, Bukit Selambau in Kedah and Batang Ai in Sarawak -- last year.

"We want to shorten the time taken to conduct the by-elections, save on cost as well as minimising by-election tensions.

"There is also limited period available for a separate by-election because of the many upcoming events taking place such as the Deepavali, Aidiladha, Sabah state assembly sitting, Awal Muharram, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination and so on. This is the best date for the Batu Sapi by-election.

"Sabah is also ready to face the by-election," he told a news conference after chairing a special meeting to decide on the by-election date here today.

The Batu Sapi seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent MP Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), a Barisan Nasional component party, in a road accident on Saturday.

Chong won the seat in the 2008 general election, beating Independent candidate Chung Kwong Wing by a 3,708-vote margin. He polled 9,479 votes.

Abdul Aziz said the EC would use the main electoral roll, updated on Oct 9, which contained the names of 24,047 ordinary voters and 1,535 postal voters.

The EC has appointed Sandakan Municipal Council secretary Mohamad Hamsan Awang Supain as the returning officer.

The nomination and tallying of votes would be held at the Sandakan community hall while 11 schools and a regional library would be used as polling stations, comprising 45 polling streams, he said.

Abdul Aziz said the EC had also agreed to set up two enforcement teams to monitor activities throughout the campaigning period.

He said the EC allocated RM1.3 million for the by-election which would involve about 400 election workers.

The EC expects the voter turnout to be about 80% compared with 63.1% in the last general election.

On the results of the two by-elections, Abdul Aziz said the EC was expected to announce them simultaneously at 8 p.m. on Nov 4.

A by-election need not be called in the event of a vacancy after April 28 next year because the current term of parliament would only have two years left by then.

MySinchew 2010.10.15