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Reporting by Nawar Firdaws, Qurnisha Hamka, Sarah M. Khir and Syahirah Roslan

PENGKALAN CHEPA, March 22, 2015:

The Chempaka by-election takes place today which sees a five-way battle between PAS’ candidate Ahmad Fathan Mahmood @ Muhammad and Independent candidates Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary, 48; Sharif Mahmood, 59; Fadzillah Hussin, 55 and Aslah Mamat, 64.

The Election Commission (EC) predicts more than 70 per cent voter turnout of the 20,390 normal registered voters in the area.

Earlier, the Kelantan state government had declared today as a public holiday to enable folks to go out and cast their votes with ease.

There are altogether nine voting centres with 39 streams in the Chempaka constituency.

9.05pm

PAS retained the Chempaka state seat after its candidate Ahmad Fathan Mahmood @ Muhammad defeated four Independent candidates with 10,899 votes.

Sharif Mahmood managed 807, Fadzillah Hussin obtained 89, Aslah Mamat received 27 and Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary only secured 51 votes.

Ahmad Fathan is officially announced as the new Chempaka assemblyman with a 10,092-vote majority.

9.01pm

The by-election result is being announced by EC Returning Officer Ibrahim Bakri Mat Deris.

Only two candidates are here at the official counting centre; PAS’ Ahmad Fathan and Independent candidate Aslah Mamat. Both candidates are called to go up on the stage.

9.00pm

Independent candidate Sharif Mahmood told The Rakyat Post that although it appears as if he is going to lose the Chempaka state assembly seat, he will keep fighting for a “better Kelantan.”

“I hope I will at least have enough votes to get back the deposit.”

8.50pm

According to PAS’ operation centre, the current unofficial result shows Ahmad Fathan in the lead, but with a 9,992-vote majority.

— TRP pic
— TRP pic

8.45pm

Unofficial results from sources in Kelantan puts Ahmad Fathan as the winner with a 9,652 vote-majority, a significant increase from incumbent Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s majority of 6,500 in the last general election.

8.40pm

At around 8.20pm, Kelantan PAS Commissioner (II) Datuk Dr Johari Mat arrived at the PAS operations centre here.

“We have been very confident of PAS winning since day one. Our concerns were on the voter turnout which unfortunately was quite low.

“Either way we are very happy with the results so far as it shows that the people have faith in Ustaz Fathan and in PAS’ governance,” he said to The Rakyat Post.

8.30pm

As at 8.30pm, Ahmad Fathan is still leading with 3,862 votes.

8.25pm

Official results from the EC from SMK Pengkalan Chepa voting centre, PAS’ Ahmad Fathan is in the lead with 2,811 votes.

8.18pm

Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah was here at the PAS operations centre at the Pusat Tarbiah Kelantan (PUTIK) where he performed Maghrib prayer. He left soon after.

8.04pm

Unofficial result from PAS’ Operations Centre as at 8.02pm sees Ahmad Fathan still leading with 6,845 votes.

Independent candidate Sharif Mahmood garnered 615 votes, Aslah Mamat 26, Izat Bukhary 34 and Fadzillah Hussin 72.

7.33pm

Unofficial result from PAS’ Operations Centre sees their candidate Ahmad Fathan in the lead with a 5,504-vote majority.

The unofficial result has Ahmad Fathan with 5,590 votes, while Fadzillah Hussin is trailing far behind with a mere 69 votes.

The other two Independent candidates, Izat Bukhary and Aslah Mamat, have 29 and 26 votes each, respectively.

However, Independent candidate Sharif Mahmood managed to secure 486 votes.

7.22pm

PAS Chempaka is setting up to air live updates on the by-election result outside the Pusat Tarbiah Kelantan (PUTIK).

— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

6.55pm

EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said the commission was satisfied with the turnout, as a by-election without a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate would usually see a low turnout.

He gave examples of the previous Penanti by-election in which BN did not field a candidate, and the voter turnout was at 46 per cent. As for Bukit Gelugor, the voter turnout was at 56 per cent. “We do not know why this is, the weather today is fine, it is a public holiday and i was made to understand that traffic was good, manned by police and security officers. “Our opinion is that this was a decision made by those who did not want to cast their votes today, or that those living outside Chempaka decided not to return to vote,” he said, adding that they will conduct a research to find out why voter turnout was low. “This is among the most peaceful by-elections ever, without any chaos at the entrance (to the voting centres) or by the road side,” he said. Abdul Aziz said the result can be expected at 9.30pm.

6.40pm

EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said as at 5pm, voter turnout was at 55 per cent of 21,890, however this was an unofficial estimate.

The break up of the voters in Chempaka are 20,390 normal voters, 1,497 early voters and 3 postal votes, giving a grand total of 21,890.

He added that relatively, this turnout was lower compared to the 85.9 per cent that came out to vote in the last general election in 2013.

6.30pm

The EC is holding a press conference at the official counting centre.

6.06pm

Ballot boxes from the voting centres for the Chempaka by-election are being carried into the official counting centre at Dewan Bitara of MRSM Pengkalan Chepa.

5.45pm

Unofficial voter turnout at 5pm, when polls were closed, was at 55 per cent.

3.45pm

Voter turnout at 3pm is at 50.88 per cent or 10,374 voters.

2.50pm

The Chempaka by-election’s voting process has slowed down after lunch hour, compared to this morning.

The Rakyat Post observed that for the voting centre in SK Kem Pengkalan Chepa, only around 20 people have turned up to vote in the past one hour.

The voting centre’s supervisor Mohamed Yusoff said this was not a concern for the commission as past trends have shown that the turnout will pick up again closer to 5pm. “So far 45 per cent or 1,300 registered voters (in this voting centre) have cast their votes. It slowed down a bit at around 1pm just now, but I believe more will come later.” ASP Asiah Abdul Ghani, the officer in charge of 26 police personnel stationed here said that the situation has been under control with no unwanted incidents.

2.19pm

Voter turnout at 2pm is at 47.14 per cent or 9,611 voters.

1.30pm

Voter turnout at 1pm is at 44.17 per cent or 9,007 voters.

12.55pm

It is a tradition for the residents of Kampung Pulau Gajah to hold an open house everytime an election, no matter how big or small, takes place in the area.

“We’ve been cooking and preparing eveything since late last night. It’s a good opportunity for us villagers to meet up and chat. “And it really doesn’t matter if you support PAS or the independent candidates. This gathering is open for all,” said Jamilah Omar who told The Rakyat Post that she, along with many others around the area have cast their votes for PAS candidate Ahmad Fathan.

12.31pm

Voter turnout as of 12pm is at 38.82 per cent or 7,915 voters.

12.17pm

PAS Pulau Gajah’s representative Hatman Abdullah said that they expect at least 50 per cent of the registered voters here to turn up before 1pm.

If the numbers are lower than that, the party machinery comprised of at least 10 PAS members will go house to house to urge its occupants to come out and vote.

“A lot of people have come and vote, and although that is good, it is still not as much as we expected,” he said.

12.07pm

Just less than a minute’s walk from SK Pulau Gajah voting centre, PAS Pulau Gajah is holding an open house for all the constituents around the area.

— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

11.55am

If not for the police presence and a couple of EC’s banners, it can easily be forgotten that SK Pulau Gajah is also a voting centre.

Only a handful of voters are seen around here and contrary to SM Agama Tengku Amalin Aishah Putri and SK Seri Chempaka voting centres, the atmosphere here is very quiet. “It’s definitely less festive than past elections. Maybe because this is a small village with narrow roads, you can’t open stalls or have people crowding around. “I voted for PAS, because I feel that the candidate can go on governing this area the way Tok Guru Nik Aziz had,” said a voter here, Mohamad Azlan Azami, 25.
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

According to the supervisor of the voting centre here, Mohd Ghani, until now 421 voters have turned up, but in small groups since 8am today.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ghani added that only around two or three Chinese voters out of the 35 registered here have turned up so far.

11.27am

PAS’ candidate Ahmad Fathan and his wife Azizah Mohd Halim visit the SK Parang Puting voting centre.

— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
As at 11am, voter turnout for Chempaka is at 31.3 per cent or 6,382 voters.

11.15am

When met earlier, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof remarked that this has been the most peaceful by-election so far. Abdul Aziz, when met at the SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 voting centre said this helped ensure a smooth voting process. “This school has the most number of registered voters with the most streams, but just look for youself, there is no chaos. “Everything is going on smoothly. This is the most peaceful polling day ever,” he said to The Rakyat Post. Abdul Aziz spent about an hour visiting this voting centre and left at 11.00am.

11.13am

As at 11.00am, voter turnout for SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 is at 29 per cent.

10.36am

At the SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 voting centre, it is estimated there are some 50 police officers on duty to ensure everything goes smoothly.

It is learned that there six police and FRU trucks on standby outside the voting centre, should there be chaos between voters and supporters of the candidates vying for the Chempaka state seat today.

10.27am

Voter turnout at 10.00am was 19.53 percent or 3,983 voters.

Folks at SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 waiting to cast their votes. — TRP pic by Qurnisha Hamka
Folks at SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 waiting to cast their votes. — TRP pic by Qurnisha Hamka

10.20am

When met at SK Parang Puting voting centre, Independent candidate Shariff Mahmood said he was confident he could defeat popular candidate, PAS’ Ahmad Fathan.

“I am just worried of low voter turnout. However, I see the voters today look happy and this is what I want. A flourishing democracy for the rakyat,” he said to The Rakyat Post.

10.17am

According to SM Agama Tengku Amalin Aishah Putri’s voting centre coordinator who refused to be named, around 100 people have come to vote so far.

“This is still really slow compared to past by-elections. By now there should have been around 300 people.”

10.15am

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof arrived a few minutes ago at the SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1 to observe the voting process.
— TRP pic by Qurnisha Hamka
— TRP pic by Qurnisha Hamka

10.12am

Muslimah PAS has been outside SM Agama Tengku Amalin Aishah Putri where the voting process is taking place, waving signs to people passing by and pleading for them to “vote for PAS”.

— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

10.06am

Independent candidate Shariff Mahmood visits the SK Parang Puting voting centre, accompanied by a few supporters.

— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir

10.05am

Around 20 police officers are at SM Agama Tengku Amalin Aishah Putri to ensure the voting process goes smoothly.

— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

9.55am

Upon observation, voter turnout for now at SM Agama Tengku Amalin Aishah Putri sees more women than men casting their votes.

Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Soh, supervisor for this school’s voting centre said that the turnout has been really slow, unlike what they initially expected.

“It’s a holiday, and it’s still early. Maybe later more will turn up. So far we’ve noticed that there are probably more women voters coming to cast their votes,” he said.
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws
— TRP pic by Nawar Firdaws

9.36am

Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob visits the SK Parang Puting voting centre.

9.21am

A couple of husband and wife, Che Abdul Rahman Yaacob and Che Mah Ismail, both 96 and 91 years old, respectively, finished casting their votes at SK Parang Puting.

— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir

As at 9.00am, the EC reports 1,531 people having come out to cast their votes, putting the voter turnout at 7.38 per cent.

9.05am

A man has been instructed to leave the SMK Chempaka 1 voting centre after police found that he was campaigning within the school compound.

The man who was dressed in a green shirt was escorted out by an EC officer.

8.35am

Spotted at the SMK Pengkalan Chepa (1) voting centre was PAS’ Muslimat chief, who is also Rantau Panjang parliamentarian, Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, who came to show her support.

8.20am

After casting his vote, Ahmad Fathan, who was also with his wife, said, “Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), the voting process was smooth. I hope everyone will come out to cast their votes.”

— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir

8.05am

PAS’ candidate Ahmad Fathan has just cast his vote at SMK Pengkalan Chepa (1). He was accompanied by Kelantan deputy Menteri Besar, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir
— TRP pic by Sarah M Khir

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