SLIM RIVER, August 29 — Equipped with face masks and sanitisers, Slim residents started arriving at the voting centre as early as 7.30am for the constituency’s by-election today.
Hooi Wai Fong, 73, from Kuala Lumpur was the first to arrive at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Aminnudin Baki polling station.
Hooi said that she came early to vote as she must return to Kuala Lumpur today.
“I’m from Slim, but at the moment I’m staying in Kuala Lumpur. I came to my hometown about a month ago and was supposed to go back early, however, due to the by-election I decided to stay until it finishes,” she told reporters when met at the polling centre here.
Hooi, who started to vote at the age of 21, said that she chose to stay on earlier in her hometown as she did not want to travel back again from Kuala Lumpur to vote as all her children will be busy.
Another voter, Tan Chun, 65, from Kampung Baru here, said she decided to come and vote early as she must watch her grandchildren.
“Also my children are taking care of our butcher stall in the market and they can only vote after I finish voting. We will take turns to vote,” she said.
Tan also said that she usually voted early to beat the crowd.
Rohaini Abd Hamid, 48, from Kampung Sentosa here noted that voting this time was much easier despite the strict guidelines put in place for Covid-19 prevention.
“If compared to the previous voting, I think this time was very peaceful. The crowd is controlled and the guidelines are not difficult to follow.
“Also they provide buggy rides for the voters to make the voting process easier,” she said.
Mohd Awis Kharni Ab Rahman, 43, said that he felt safe voting despite the continued presence of Covid-19 in the country.
“The reason why I said this is because the authorities have set strict guidelines, our temperatures were checked, voters are required to wear face masks and hand sanitisers were provided at each checkpoint.
“Also we can see health authorities doing constant sanitation in the polling centre. We thank the authorities for taking the safety measure to keep us safe while voting,” he added.
Mohd Awis, a fireman from Penang, said he arrived at Slim River around 2.30am today purely to fulfil his responsibility as a voter.
All three candidates — Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Mohd Zaidi Aziz, 43; Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s (Pejuang) Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, 38, who is contesting as an independent; and independent candidate Santharasekaran Subramaniam, 44 — did not vote here.
The Slim state has 27,139 residents who are 74 per cent Malays, 12 per cent Indians, 10 per cent Chinese, and 1.4 per cent Orang Asli.
Of these, 22,817 are eligible to vote in 13 polling stations across the constituency today.
On Tuesday, a total of 96.25 per cent of the 267 registered early voters comprising police personnel cast their ballots in the early voting.
Polling started at 8am and will end at 5.30pm.
The by-election is being held following the death of its four-term assemblyman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib on July 15.
In the 14th general election, Mohd Khusairi defended the state seat with a majority of 2,183 votes by defeating Mohd Amran Ibrahim from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), who contested under the PKR ticket, and Muhammad Zulfadli Zainal of PAS.