: Tomorrow is the day for voters in the Chini state by-election to decide who will be their voice after 14 days of campaigning under the new normal following the COVID-19 pandemic threat.
A total of 20,816 voters will cast their ballots at 13 polling centres through 65 channels open from 8 am to 5.30 pm.
The counting of votes will take place at the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) near here, before the new assemblyman is announced in the evening by the returning officer, Datuk Zaliza Zulkipli.
For the by-election, 17 out of 18 policemen had cast their votes in early polls on Tuesday, while the Election Commission (EC) had issued 156 postal ballots for election personnel.
The Chini by-election is the 11th by-election after the 14th general election (GE14) and the first for the Perikatan Nasional government (PN) after taking over the country's leadership from Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Although the by-election may not have been as hotly-contested as the previous elections, the Chini state by-election is special as it created history by being held under the new normal following the COVID-19 outbreak which saw various changes introduced to ensure 'election clusters' do not occur.
For example, the EC is calling on voters to come out according to the proposed time on voter's card sent out and not to vote at the last minute to ensure no big crowds at polling stations to comply with social distancing ruling.
A total of 13 polling centres would be opened namely Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Mambang, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Paloh Hinai, SK Kinchir, Dewan Mempelas Kampung Baru PPSK Salong, SK LKTP Chini Timur 1, SMK Chini Timur, Balai Raya Kampung Dusun, SK LKTP Chini Timur 2, SK LKTP Chini 3 dan 5, SK LKTP Chini 1 and 4, Kelas Al-Quran and Fardu Ain (KAFA) Felda Chini 3, Sekolah Agama Rakyat (KAFA) Nur Ilham Felda Chini 1 and SMK Chini 2.
A total of 838 electoral personnel will be on duty tomorrow while Pahang police chief Datuk Abd Jalil Hassan had informed that more than 700 policemen will be mobilised to ensure smooth voting process.
Meanwhile, Pahang Health Department senior assistant director (surveillance) Dr Che Asiah Taib said at least three health workers would be stationed at each polling centre and there would special areas created for symptomatic voters as a precautionary measure.
Voters who have received their voting cards or have obtained voting information can also go straight to
vote without checking with EC's stalls, and they are reminded to adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures such as wearing face masks and applying sanitiser while at the polling centres.
As there is no clash between political parties in the by-election when PH decided not to contest, the pandemic situation also led to the Chini state by-election campaign being held at a moderate level including a limited audience of only 250 for talks without any contact activities allowed.
The Chini state by-election saw Barisan Nasional (BN) naming Felda Chini second-generation settler
, Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, as candidate to defend the state seat in a three-way contest against two independent candidates, businessman Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49.
The by-election was held following the death of incumbent Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, 60, at Kuala Lumpur Hospital due to a heart attack on May 7. Abu Bakar was Chini state assemblyman since the 11th general election in 2004.
In the GE-14, Abu Bakar defended the Chini state seat by a majority of 4,622 votes after securing 10,027 votes against PAS candidate Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim (5,405) and PKR's Mohamad Razali Ithnain (1,065).