PUTRAJAYA, April 5 2019 : The Election Commission has fixed May 11 for the Sandakan parliamentary by-election while nomination is on April 27 and early voting on May 7.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun who announced the dates at a press conference here today said the by-election was expected to cost RM3.1 million.
He said the electoral roll for the seat had 39,856 ordinary voters, 270 early voters and five absentee voters (who are overseas).
The EC would mobilise 770 polling staff to handle 21 polling centres with a total of 92 voting streams, he said .
The by-election is necessitated following the death of the incumbent Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, 65, who was also Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister, on March 28 due to a heart attack.
In the 14th General Election last May, Wong, who was also state DAP chairman, won the seat with a majority of 10,098 votes. He secured 9,094 votes to defeat Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Lim Ming Ho who obtained 8,996 votes.
The Sandakan by-election is the eighth to be held after the 14th general election.
Azhar said the campaign period was set for 14 days after the nomination of candidates to 11.59 pm on May 10.
He said EC had also appointed Sandakan Municipal Council deputy president Mohamad Hamsan Awang Supain as Sandakan by-election returning officer and he would be assisted by five assistant returning officers.
“The EC has also set up four enforcement teams for the by-election to monitor all election campaign activities during the official campaign period.
Azhar said EC would be using Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Tiong Hua Sandakan as the nomination centre and vote tallying centre.
He said the nomination of candidates form would be put on sale from April 8 at the election returning officer’s office in Sandakan Municipal Council or the Sabah State Election office or at EC headquarters in Putrajaya.
Aspiring Sandakan by-election candidates are advised to fill the nomination form and check with the returning officer’s office before the nomination day, he said.
On improvements by EC in the Sandakan by-election, Azhar said two special channels for voters above 60 years ago would be provided at voting centres.
“The voting time has also been extended to 8am to 5.30pm,” he said.
Azhar said 17 new channels would be added for an overall of 92 channels compared to 75 in the 14th general election.
Asked on early voting for Rantau by-election on April 9, Azhar said there would 118 early voters and two voting centres would be involved.
“So far, preparations for Rantau by-election polling are proceeding smoothly,” he said.
The Rantau by-election on April 13 will see a four-cornered fight involving Pakatan Harapan candidate Dr S. Streram, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (Barisan Nasional) and two independent candidates, R. Malarvizhi, a housewife and former lecturer Mohd Nor Yassin. – Bernama