Batu Sapi: Parties push hard to get voters out
SANDAKAN: All parties involved in the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election are pushing their canvassers hard to bring voters to the 12 polling booths, as turnout remained lower then anticipated in the morning.
Buses and cars were busy moving into the villages to pick up voters, in an effort to boost turnout. At noon, only 9,261 or 36.02% of the 24,047 voters had cast their votes.
The number went up to 41% or 10,550 voters at 1pm. Cloudy skies and the rain in the morning could have contributed to the low turnout.
At 11am, of the 7,313 voters or 28.59% of those who had cast their ballots, many were from the Muslim bumiputra majority area of Sekong. The Chinese area of Karamunting saw only 2,630 or 20.06% turnout before noon.
Barisan Nasional believed that a low turnout in the Chinese area would be an advantage to them as many were said to be SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s supporters.
A Barisan strategist anticipated that at least 18,000 of the voters would cast their ballots, excluding the 1,535 postal voters who have already voted.
“By 2pm, we are expecting some 14,000 to cast their ballots,” he said, adding that from Barisan’s point of view, the turn out forecast would be good for their candidate Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin of Parti Bersatu Sabah.
An Umno leader said that Barisan was reaching its 2,000 majority and hoping for a bigger margin.
In the Pulau Timbang polling centre at SK Tronglit, some 700 of the 984 registered voters have cast their ballots. Voting on the island will close at 3pm.
PKR also believed a low turnout would be an advantage to its candidate Ansari Abdullah.
“Lower Muslim bumiputra votes will show the votes are split between Umno and us,” said veteran politician Datuk Karim Ghani, who has been campaigning for PKR.
Both Barisan and Opposition campaigners expected the turnout to peak just before closing time, as the cloudy weather has cleared and office workers head for the polling centres.