Reporting by Ahmad Fazlan, Zaini Hardy, Nawar Firdaws, Ahmed Syahril, Zalikha Ameera, and Arif Kartono
ROMPIN, May 5, 2015:
Voting for the Rompin parliamentary seat by-election is now officially closed.
Over the past two hours, several polling centres closed early, and this was attributed to the fact that ballot boxes had to be transported by helicopter to the counting centre in Dewan Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.
The polling centres opened at 8am and the State Government had earlier declared today as a public holiday in conjunction with the polls.
The by-election sees a straight fight between ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin and Nazri Ahmad of PAS.
The Rompin seat fell vacant following the death of the constituency’s incumbent, Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis of BN on April 4.
Last week, 460 of the 545 early voters had cast their ballots.
BN retains the Rompin parliamentary seat via its candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin who garnered 23,796 votes, beating PAS’ Nazri Ahmad who managed 14,901 votes.
This gives BN a 8,895 vote-majority, 6,219 less than its incumbent Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis who won the seat in the 13th General Election with a 15,114 vote-majority.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob have arrived at the vote counting centre.
With just 20 ballot boxes remaining, BN is still in the lead with 19,212 votes while PAS is still left behind with 11,928. The majority of votes is 7,284.
There are only 40 ballot boxes left before the next Rompin Member of Parliament is announced.
According to EC’s latest official result, BN now has 12,855 votes while PAS has 7,485.BN is leading, now with a majority of 5,370.
There are still 70 ballots yet to be received by the EC.
The unofficial results from PAS’ camp also puts BN in the lead.
BN candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin has arrived at the vote counting centre.
At 8.40pm, Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil arrived at the vote counting centre.
Vote counting is currently in progress at the Dewan Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah in Rompin. At present, it appears that BN is still taking the lead.
Vote counting is still in progress, with reports giving BN a safe lead ahead of PAS.
As at 8.15pm, BN is ahead at 19 polling centres, according to Bernama, while PAS is leading at 3 centres.Unofficial result puts BN in the lead with 23,627 votes, while PAS trails behind with 14,871 votes, Bernama reports.
At a press conference held earlier by PAS, its candidate Nazri Ahmad thanked the party’s machinery that had helped in the by-election.
Ballot boxes are being brought into the official vote counting centre at Dewan Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.
Voter turnout for the Rompin by-election after polls were closed is at 73 per cent of the 52,744 registered voters, 7 percent below the EC’s target.
All polling centres are now closed. Stay tuned with The Rakyat Post for live updates on the election results later.
With just a few minutes to go before the polling ends, an EC personnel at SK Tanjung Gemok told The Rakyat Post that the ballots will be taken to Dewan Jubli Perak at around 6pm after they are first counted at the polling centre.
Last minute voter Nurbaizura Muhammad said the late Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis’ contributions are a big factor that will contribute to BN’s possible win today.“He had helped a lot of the poor with basic necessities, scholarships for their children, and financial help for single mothers. “That had in some ways, gave us a sense of loyalty for the party he was representing.”
According to the EC, voter turnout as at 4pm is 38,843 or 72.88 per cent.4.26pm
Puteri Umno Nurain Amirah Mohd Zaker, 19, may not be old enough to vote, but that doesn’t stop her from campaigning for her party and its candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin.“We’ve been going door to door since 8am to get people to come out and vote. Maybe one day they will make me Ketua Puteri Umno,” said Nurain jokingly when met outside SK Tanjung Gemok’s polling centre.4.15pm
The atmosphere around polling centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Gemok is still lively although the polling is coming to an end in less than an hour.
According to the campaigners who have been there since at 8am today, around 900 people out of around 1500 registered voters there gave come out to vote for the preferred candidate for the Parliamentary seat.Muhammad Mohd Idris said there are more voters coming in although a little delayed by the heavy rain.
“We have called most of the registered outside voters. Some of them are working outside of Pahang so they can only leave after working for at least half a day.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad Shehabudin A. Rahman told The Rakyat Post that he and his friends will be following the by-election result updates from Dewan Jubli Perak where the ballot count will be conducted.“We’re excited. We’re confident BN will win, although maybe with a lower majority vote as some of the voters here are not very happy with the implementation of GST.”
According to the EC, voter turnout as at 3pm is 37,502 or 70.37 percent.
PAS Women’s wing are working hard to get the voters in SMK Tanjung Gemok to place their support on their party whose candidate they said will work towards ensuring a better quality of life for the people of Rompin.“GST is affecting everyone. We came from Kuantan and there, everything is expensive now. If GST is good for the people, then why are we constantly worried and burdened by the sudden and noticeable price hike? “We know many people said PAS is only wasting their money by contesting in this by-election. But when we die, God will not ask us if we win or lose. God will ask us if we have tried our best,” said Azizah Mohd Ali, 63.
According to the EC, voter turnout as at 2pm is 35,459 voters or 66.53 percent.
Bukit Ibam Umno Youth chief Ahmad Khairul Rani said this by-election appeared to attract outside voters to return home to cast their votes.
It has started raining in some parts along Kuala Rompin to Tanjung Gemok.
Lance Corporal Mohd Arifuddin is stationed at SMK Tanjung Gemok to look after the security here. He said that so far, no untoward incidents have taken place there and this is probably due to the poor turnout at this particular voting centre so far.The Election Commission (EC) had earlier stated that there are still more than 30% registered voters in Rompin yet to cast their votes.
The Rakyat Post’s observation showed that some polling centres here looked empty with almost no one there besides campaigners from both side of the contesting parties.
Basahri Basar Sabtu just arrived at the polling centre in SMK Tanjung Gemok. He said that compared to other cities in the country, Rompin lacks variety and options and hence, consumers are often cheated by traders who knew that they have nowhere else to go even if they were unhappy with the traders’ prices and services.
The situation near the Bukit Ibam polling centre.
According to the EC, voter turnout as at 1pm is 33,402 voters or 62.67 percent.
PAS supporter Suhaimi Hassan, 51, and his family travelled all the way from Kuantan to help with the party’s campaign.Although he is not so confident of PAS winning the Parliamentary seat, the possibility of the party winning enough votes to get them back their deposit is one that he is sure of. “There are about 7,000 Orang Asli voters here and their loyalty to BN is hard to shake. People from the rural area don’t really know much or really feel the impact of GST (Goods and Services Tax). “But at least this whole campaign period will open their eyes on the flaws of the government and who knows, maybe in the next General Election they will vote for PAS.”
An Election Commission (EC) personnel stationed at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Janglau polling centre said that up to 12pm today, 497 people have cast their votes.“This is a low figure but we’re expecting more to come from 3pm onwards. Some of them are working although it is a public holiday. Hopefully we will be able to reach the EC target of at least 80% turnout,” added the personnel who refused to be named.
Both BN and PAS campaigners brave out the heat to ensure that their respective party will come out on top.Siah Ng Chuan said only around 10 voters in her neighbourhood, Kampung Orang Asli Batu 8 are still yet to come and vote at Sekolah Kebangsaan Janglau. “We’ve been going house to house since morning to make sure everyone comes out today.” Both PAS and BN campaigners said that they will stay in front of the school, come rain or shine, so that no one will overlook the polling centre.
Koh Chin, 36, cast his vote in Sekolah Kebangsaan Janglau. He is confident that BN candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin will be able to pull back at least 10% of the Chinese votes which in the last General Election, had gone to PAS.
Video recording of the situation outside the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 voting centre, earlier in the morning.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, at a press conference at the media centre within the Rompin Community College, explained the reason some of the voting centres had to close early was because the ballot boxes would have to be transported to the vote counting centre via helicopter.He also informed that as at 11am, 24,438 or 46 per cent of voters have come out to cast their votes.
Traders taking the opportunity to sell food outside the Sekolah Menengah Agama Bukit Ibam voting centre.
Voters in Bukit Ibam registering at the EC counter before getting in line to cast their votes.
Several voting centres under the Rompin constituency will close early today, instead of the usual 5pm.Voting centres in Sekolah Kebangsaan Juara, Balai Raya Kampung Genting, Sekolah Kebangsaan Mukut and Sekolah Kebangsaan Denai will close at 2pm. The Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tekek voting centre will close at 3pm. Meanwhile, the Dewan Stesen Mardi Muadzam Shah voting centre will close at 4pm.
As at 10am, 17,050 voters have come out to cast their votes for the Rompin by-election, according to the EC.
Orang Asli voters lining up at the Sekolah Rendah Kedaik polling centre, earlier.Earlier an EC officer was seen assisting a senior citizen in a wheelchair at the Sekolah Rendah Kedaik voting centre.
The situation outside the Sekolah Rendah Kedaik voting centre is very festive with voters coming out since early morning to cast their votes.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof came to visit the polling centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong at around 9.50am today.He told reporters present that he was happy with the situation at the polling centres so far. “Around 14% of the registered voters here have carried out their responsibility (so far). I hope more will come out, at least 80% which is a little lower than the turnout during the past General Election. The weather and the traffic is really good so there is no reason for the voters to not come and vote. “We’ve also received reports saying that some political wishers here are still campaigning around the polling centres. This is not right and don’t blame us if actions are taken against them,” Abdul Aziz said.
As at 9am, 7,659 voters have come out to cast their votes, according to the Election Commission (EC).
Constable Mohd Shamer Zulkaffli said there are eight police officers stationed at the polling centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong today.
“We have been here since 7.30am to ensure the polling goes smoothly. So far the situation is under control.”
Rompin police chief DSP Johari Jahaya has arrived here to monitor the situation.
Johari told The Rakyat Post that the voters should not be worried to come out and vote as the police have stationed “enough personnel” to ensure their safety and the security of the surrounding area.
“I will be visiting all polling centres here and in Tioman to make sure that the officers are doing their job,” Johari said.
Johari also took to warning supporters to behave as they were seen screaming outside the polling centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong.He asked for their cooperation to stop behaving in that manner as it will disturb the peace of the residents in the area.
BN’s Outside Voters Registration chief Nor Maslina Hashim@Mansor, 43, said that in the past hour, over 50 outside voters have come and registered with them before going into Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong to vote.
“We are very happy with the turnout especially since it is still really early. The support the party has received so far is also very encouraging.”
BN candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin when met by reporters said he was satisfied with the voting process in Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong.He said he left the house at 6.30am and prior to that had performed Subuh prayer at the Muadzam Shah Mosque. After breakfast, Hasan said, accompanied by his wife, three children and one in-law, went to meet voters before heading to the voting centre to cast their votes.
Earlier, there was tension between the two parties outside Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 when BN supporters dominated both sides of the road which led to PAS supporters being unhappy with the situation.
However the police managed to solve the issue by ordering all BN supporters to stay on their side of the road.
PAS supporters then shouted “Thank you police officers” for making way for them to gather outside the polling centre.
Although the police managed to organise the situation, war of words on GST and hudud can still be heard from both sides.
After more than 40 minutes of waiting in line, BN’s Datuk Hasan Arifin and his family have finally cast their votes.9.05am
BN and PAS machineries outside Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong are seen standing next to each other, talking and joking while occasionally shouting, “Hidup BN” and “Hidup PAS“.9.03amBN’s machinery has prepared breakfast for those coming out to vote at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong this morning. They are currently still waiting for the rough estimate of those who have come to vote in the polling centre here as of now.8.50am
73-year-old Aliah Jaafar stood in line for almost half an hour just to play her part in the decision of who will become the next Rompin member of Parliament. She said that despite her bad back, she still wanted to be one of the first to cast her vote, even if that means going without her children who are still sleeping in.8.36amDatuk Hasan Arifin’s wife Datin Rozidah Abdul Karim, 57, said that she is happy to see her husband back in the political world after 11 years without any position. “I have helped with the campaign too but mostly with the ladies. I’m really touched by how the people here still remembers him after all these years.”8.31am
BN’s Datuk Hasan Arifin and his wife Datin Rozidah Abdul Karim are waiting in line to cast their votes at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong.8.24am
BN candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin has arrived at the polling centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong to carry out his responsibility as a voter.8.23amVoters lining up to cast their votes at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong voting centre.8.16amPAS’ Nazri Ahmad leaving Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 to visit other polling centres.
At Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong, party supporters have set up camp outside the voting centre in an attempt to sway voters to vote for their parties’ candidates.8.15amMedia practitioners as well as voters registered to vote at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong are eagerly anticipating the arrival of BN’s Datuk Hasan Arifin. However as at 8.15am, Hasan who is expected to cast his vote here has yet to arrive.8.14am
Zaiton Kadir, 67 (left) and Jumeah Abdul Ghani, 50, have been at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong since 7.30am.
Zaiton told The Rakyat Post that she has been missing the late Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis who “had contributed greatly to the people here.”
Both are confident that BN candidate Datuk Hasan Arifin will win with a huge majority.8.13amThe number of voters arriving at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong begins to increase.Meanwhile, at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5, PAS’ Nazri Ahmad is greeting voters, and is seen here shaking hands with a voter in a wheelchair.8.10am
The situation is calm outside the Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong voting centre. Traffic leading up to the centre is still clear at the moment.8.09amNazri Ahmad’s wife Yusmariza Yusof has just cast her vote at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5.8.06amPAS’ Nazri Ahmad has just finished casting his vote at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5.8.05am
Senior citizen, Jaharah Ismail, 84, prepares to cast her vote at Sekolah Kebangsaan Leban Chondong. She is the first person to cast her vote at this voting centre.8.00amThe polling centre is now open. PAS’ Nazri Ahmad is ready to cast his vote at Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5.7.55am
A bit of tension is in the air after a PAS member begun criticising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) outside the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 voting centre. However the tension subsided as BN supporters took to ignoring the provocation.7.50amPAS’ Nazri Ahmad is registering to vote at the EC counter set up at the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 polling centre.7.49amSome 50 voters are already waiting in line at the Sekolah Leban Chondong voting centre.7.48am
PAS’ Nazri Ahmad takes the time to greet BN supporters outside the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 polling centre. The situation here is calm without any provocation.7.45amPAS candidate Nazri Ahmad has arrived at the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 polling centre.7.38am
Voters at the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 polling centre begin entering the school compound to register at the EC counter before voting opens at 8am.7.35amVoters have already begun lining up at the Sekolah Agama Rakyat Keratong 5 polling centre as early as 7.15am.