11.30pm: Speaking at a press conference, a beaming Wong Ho Leng says: "This victory is one small step in Sibu, one big step to (state administrative capital) Petrajaya, and one giant step to Putrajaya."
Robert Lau, meanwhile, expresses sadness: "I'm sad, because Sibu is going to lose out on a lot of things. I have said in my campaign that if we lose, we lose the confidence of the federal government.
"But my heart is still with the people of Sibu and I will serve them in whatever capacity that I can," says the SUPP leader.
11.10pm: A crowd of 3,000 gather outside the main tally centre at Dewan Suarah to celebrate DAP's victory in Sibu. They shout, "Dacing tipu".
Independent Narawi Haron forfeited his RM10,000 deposit for failing to obtain at least one-eighth of the total vote cast.
The Election Commission has revised the voter turnout. It now says the turnout was 70% instead of 59.86% (which is higher than the 68% in the 2008 general elections).
Votes cast - 37,919 votes
Turnout - 70%
Spoilt votes - 395 votes
Majority - 398 votes
Postal votes - 2,429 votes
10.58pm: Election Commission makes official announcement:
DAP - 18,845
BN - 18,447
Ind - 232
Majority - 398
The two-hour delay in the announcement of the result was due to a dispute in the postal ballots where 208 votes were rejected. This however did not change the final result. According to the EC, the dispute was over the validity of witnesses' signature for postal votes.
DAP leaders claimed that there is a discrepancy in the postal vote tally between what they have and the Election Commission’s, which caused much anxiety among the opposition that their win could be "stolen".
The final result of the postal ballots:
DAP - 70
BN - 2,323
Ind - 36
Rejected postal votes - 208
On the spot analysis:
DAP won partly because 208 'dodgy' postal votes were rejected and that independent candidate Narawi Haron, acting as a spoiler, helped take away 232 votes which most probably could have gone to BN.
10.55pm: Election Commission is expected to announce that DAP has won the Sibu by-election with a majority of 398.
On the spot analysis:
Pakatan Rakyat has managed to reverse its series of losses (Bagan Pinang and Hulu Selangor) with this win in Sibu.
Of the 11 by-election since March 2008, Pakatan has won eight while BN three. Sibu is also Pakatan's first victory in East Malaysia (PKR lost in Batang Ai in April last year).
For DAP, this is the first by-election which the party has won in 13 years. Sibu will be the party's second parliamentary seat in Sarawak to its existing Bandar Kuching. It also cemented its position as the biggest opposition party in Malaysia with 29 parliament seats under its belt.
With the defeat in Sibu, BN may delay the Sarawak state election to next year. Sarawak will need to call the state polls by middle of next year.
10.35pm: It appears that there was some minor dispute over the postal ballots. However, it is learnt that the Election Commission will be announcing the result soon.
It is almost certain that DAP has won this closely fought by-election by between 300 and 400 votes.
10.30pm: SUPP Sibu chief Wong Soon Koh at Wisma Sanyan criticised Lim Guan Eng for acting rude by "leading people to come to 'kacau'."
"This is not a healthy culture," he said.
Robert Lau is also reported to be dissatisfied that Lim and four other DAP members met with the SPR officer without the presence of Barisan people. They said they will "consider taking the election dispute to court."
10.15pm: At the main tally centre in Dewan Suarah, two SUPP officials are meeting with returning officer Wong See Meng. It is believed that they are discussing about the delay in the announcing of postal vote results.
They are later joined by DAP officials Ng Wei Aik, Lim Lip Eng and Ronnie Liu.
It is still raining in Sibu. The rain began about two hours ago. Supporters from both sides, many of them holding umbrellas, are waiting calmly outside Dewan Suarah.
10.10pm: Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusof tells Malaysiakini in an SMS message that the postal ballots Form 15 is on its way to the main tally centre in Dewan Suarah.
"EC is waiting for the official postal ballot result," he says.
Meanwhile, EC deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar says the commission will explain the delay soon.
"I'll explain after we announce the result shortly," he tells Malaysiakini.
10.09pm: All top DAP leaders are waiting at Wisma Sanyan, where the postal ballots were counted.
Lim Guan Eng tells Malaysiakini that he is worried “something suspicious could be going on” and he hopes that the Election Commission officials can release the Form 15, a document which certifies the final result of the postal ballots.
Should it be true that BN has won the postal votes by a margin of 2,300, then DAP will be declared the winner of the Sibu by-election with a tissue-thin majority of 300 votes.
It is confirmed that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin has returned to Kuala Lumpur.
There is no movement at the main tally centre in Dewan Suarah in Sibu. The official tally still indicates that 16 boxes, including the postal votes, are yet to be sent to be included in the final result.
9.50pm: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang questions the hold-up in the Election Commission's announcement of the 2,571 postal ballots.
"The postal ballot counting started at 5.30pm and finished at 8.30pm."
He asks why there is more than an hour delay in the announcement of results.
"Up to some trick?" he wonders aloud.
9.35pm: The counting of postal votes has ended. However, DAP scrutineers are unable to get Form 15 - the official tally signed by the returning officer.
It is understood that BN has won 2,300 out of a total 2,571 postal votes. This will translate into a DAP victory with a margin of 300 votes.
DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng refuses to claim victory as yet.
"I don't want comment. Please wait for the official announcement," he told Malaysiakini.
9.24pm: The final result may not be announced anytime soon. The 2,571 postal votes are still being counted. All DAP leaders leave the party's operations room in Sibu for Wisma Sanyan where the postal votes are being tallied.
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang wants to know what is holding up the Election Commission from announcing the by-election result.
9.21pm: Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusof sends a SMS message to Malaysiakini saying that the voter turnout "could be more than 60 percent".
Malaysiakini has earlier asked him to confirm whether the voter turnout was 59.86% as announced by the EC a few hours ago.
9.10pm: Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and other party leaders are set to leave the party's operations room in Sibu.
But instead of going to main tally centre at Dewan Suarah, they plan to go to Wisma Sanyan, where the postal votes are being counted.
8.57pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN has reduced DAP's lead down to 2,590 votes. A total of 109 out of 110 polling streams have been counted thus far.
DAP - 18,570
BN - 15,980
Ind - 201
Majority - 2,590
On the spot analysis:
Only one polling stream and 2,571 postal votes yet to be included. BN is expected to win over 90% of these votes but will it be enough for it to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?
8.40pm: An umbrella revolution is swelling outside of the main tally centre at Dewan Suarah, with 200 people standing in the rain to show their support for DAP's Wong Ho Leng.
Around 200 cops estimated in area, but no untoward incidents so far. No top leaders from either BN or Pakatan Rakyat are there at the moment.
8.33pm: DAP members and some leaders at its Sibu operations room are celebrating, but top party leaders are still waiting for confirmation and refuse to declare victory.
8.14pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has increased its lead to 3,944 votes. A total of 103 out of 110 polling streams have been counted thus far.
DAP - 18,211
BN - 14,267
Ind - 138
Majority - 3,944
Postal votes are still being counted. In addition, no results yet to come in from BN stronghold Kg Ilir Nangka. In the 2008 general elections, DAP lost by 1,272 votes in Kg Ilir Nangka and 2,571 in postal votes.
However, two DAP MPs - Anthony Loke and Jeff Ooi - have claimed victory.
"Sibu Pakatan Rakyat set to win by wafer-thin majority... probably less than one hundred!" says Loke in his tweet message.
On the spot analysis:
DAP is close to victory but it is still too close to call. By all estimates, the margin of victory will be in the hundreds.
8.13pm: A crowd of supporters stand with umbrellas in the rain outside the counting centre compound, chanting "Wong Ho Leng" (DAP candidate) off and on as they wait for the official result to be announced.
The projector outside the centre however has gone offline, and no
updates available so far.
8.10pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has increased its lead to 3,279 votes. About 95.5% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 17,120
BN - 13,841
Ind - 137
Majority - 3,279
7.58pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has increased its lead to 3,130 votes. About 93.9% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 16,786
BN - 13,656
Ind - 136
Majority - 3,130
7.52pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has increased its lead to 3,048 votes. About 92.6% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 16,538
BN - 13,490
Ind - 136
Majority - 3,048
DAP leaders and supporters, who are watching the unofficial results displayed by a LCD projector, are biting their nails.
On the spot analysis:
BN stronghold Kg Ilir Nangka and postal votes still yet to be announced. In the 2008 general elections, DAP lost by 1,272 votes in Kg Ilir Nangka and 2,571 in postal votes.
7.40pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP's lead breaks the 3,000 mark for the first time - it is now 3,022 votes. About 90.5% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 16,178
BN - 13,156
Ind - 135
Majority - 3,022
On the spot analysis:
DAP appears close to victory, but with postal votes and a key Malay/Melanau area yet to be tallied, BN can still win this by-election.
Whatever the result, it will be close either way.
7.35pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has again increased its lead to 2,920 votes. About 90% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 15,981
BN - 13,061
Ind - 134
Majority - 2,920
7.30pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has again increased its lead to 2,817 votes. About 87% of votes have been counted so far.
DAP - 15,655
BN - 12,838
Ind - 132
Majority - 2,817
On the spot analysis:
The 2,571 postal votes are now being counted. This is where BN is banking on clawing back into lead. In the 2008 general elections, SUPP won 94% of the postal votes.
7.15pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has again increased its lead to 2,236 votes. About 81% of votes have been counted so far.DAP - 14,283
7.13pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN has narrowed DAP's lead to 1,577 votes. About 75% of votes have been counted so far.DAP - 12,966
7.07pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has further increased its lead to 2,091. About 67% of votes have been counted so far.DAP - 11,941
7.02pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has further increased its lead to 1,544. So far, 66 out of 110 polling streams, or about 62% of votes, have been counted.DAP - 10,773
On the spot analysis
It appears that DAP has benefitted from a slight swing of Chinese voters. However, there is no change in Iban and Malay/Melanau vote. Indeed, BN could have won more votes from these two groups.
DAP will need to a sizable lead if it is to win this by-election as it is expected that BN will get the lion share of the 2,537 postal votes, which are yet to be counted.
According to DAP sources, they won in all Chinese-majority polling streams but the turnout was low, especially among young voters.
MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong says in a tweet that DAP has won over 66% of the Chinese votes. BN will need to bag at least 80% of the Malay/Melanau vote to win this by-election.
6.50pm: Rain starts to fall in Sibu as ballot boxes continue to stream into the counting centre at the main tally centre in Dewan Suarah.
A crowd of onlookers has swelled to about 100 people in surrounding
shops, mostly curious about the hive of activity at the hall.
6.46pm: The Election Commission announces that the voter turnout for today's by-election is 59.86% or 32,742 voters. The total in postal votes are 2,537.
6.42pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has further increased its lead to 914. So far, 59 out of 110 polling streams, or about 54% of votes, have been counted.
DAP - 9,188
BN - 8,274
Ind - 89
Majority - 914
6.38pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP has increased its lead to 838. So far, 57 out of 110 polling streams, or about 52% of votes, have been counted.
DAP - 8,888
BN - 8,050
Ind - 87
Majority - 838
6.35pm: EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar is chairing a closed-door meeting to discuss an objection raised by DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng over discrepancies in postal votes.
Dapsy chief Anthony Loke said the objection was over inconsistencies in signatures of witnesses, and DAP are claiming fraud.
"The EC are not happy about it. We don't know what the intend to do," Loke said when contacted through SMS.
It is understood that Wong has walked out of the postal votes counting centre but no decision has been announced yet by the EC.
6.24pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, DAP is leading for the first time as the Chinese-majority areas are being counted.
DAP - 7,026
BN - 6,243
Ind - 52
Majority - 783
So far, 44 out of 110 polling streams, or about 43% of votes, have been counted.
"It's a clear sign that Chinese votes have swung in favour of us," says DAP leader Anthony Loke. "The question is whether this is enough to carry us through."
DAP sources say that ballot boxes of Malay/Melanau areas yet to be counted. They comprise 10.5% of the Sibu electorate.
Also the estimated 2,000 postal votes, where BN is expected to win over 90% of the votes, are not factored in yet.
6.16pm: A crowd of 150 gather at the DAP operation room in Sibu. As the unofficial results stream in, the crowd cheer.
6.09pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN is leading by 1,869 votes. So far, 26 out of 110 polling streams, or about 20% of votes, have been counted.BN - 4,303
6.01pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN is leading by 1,957 votes. So far, 25 out of 110 polling streams, or about 20% of votes, have been counted.
BN - 4,205
DAP - 2,248
Ind - 41
Majority - 1,957
It appears that DAP is slowing bridging the gap as polling streams from Chinese-majority areas are now being counted.
5.50pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN is leading by 1,985 votes. So far, 22 out of 110 polling streams, or about 18% of votes, have been counted.
BN - 3,804
DAP - 1,819
Ind - 37
Majority - 1,985
EC chair Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof says he was not satisfied with the lower voter turnout which fell lower than the 67% recorded in the 2008 general election.
Meanwhile, Sibu police chief ACP Shafie Ismail says polling went smoothly except for a minor incidents of heckling among supporters of the contesting parties.
5.40pm: A few ballot boxes arrive at main tally centre in Dewan Suarah. Dark storm clouds and strong winds coming in, heavy rain expected in Sibu.
5.25pm: Election Commission workers are seen going into the main tally centre at Dewan Suarah in Sibu town. This is where all the votes from the 54 polling centres in today's by-election are tallied.
The final result will be announced by the returning officer later tonight.
DAP sources say the party appeared to have performed worse in Iban areas compared to the 2008 general election.
5.05pm: According to the latest unofficial tally, BN has increased its lead to 2,097 votes. So far, 19 out of 110 polling streams, or about 13% of votes, have been counted.
BN - 3,493
DAP - 1,396
Ind - 33
Majority - 2,097
5pm: The remaining 22 polling stations close. Another 23 pollings stations had closed earlier and counting is in progress.
4.50pm: A total of 31,119 have voted by 4pm. Voter turnout is 56.9% with one hour to go before the closing of the remaining 22 polling stations.
The voter turnout is expected to be far below the 68% in the 2008 general elections.
4.30pm: According to the latest unofficial tally in the polling stations which have closed early, BN has increased its lead to 1,930 votes. So far, 16 out of 110 polling streams have been counted.
BN - 2,959
DAP - 1,029
Ind - 18
Majority - 1,930
Of the 16 polling streams counted, at least 10 are from Iban areas where DAP is expected to lose. Iban comprise
4.29pm: Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal (left in pix) denies a scuffle ever occurred at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sg Aup as alleged by DAP MP for Bakri Er Teck Hwa (see below - 12.30pm).
“There wasn’t a scuffle (as reported). I was there (to request the DAP supporters) to disperse. There was no scuffle,” the minister told Malaysiakini.
Shafie said that he was there with a group of BN supporters.
“The MP (Er) was in the middle of the road distributing leaflets to voters. That can’t happen,” said the Umno vice-president, referring to election laws against campaigning on polling day.
“I told him (Er) that he wasn’t allowed to do such a thing. In the election laws, it is prohibited. As a member of Parliament, he should know the laws.
4.20pm: According to the latest unofficial tally in the polling stations which have closed early, DAP is trailing by 1,784 votes.
BN - 2,808
DAP - 1,024
Ind - 18
Majority - 1,784
It is still too early to spot the trend as the result is from 15 polling streams out of 110 polling streams in areas which BN is expected to do well.
4.14pm: DAP youth chief Anthony Loke tweets about his altercation with EC officials tallying the votes. He describes them, particularly those coming from Kuala Lumpur, as being “rude” and accusing them of “harassing” the DAP polling agent for “complaining too much.”
They are upset because, fighting “for every vote,” the agent is questioning too much.
To the EC officer’s complaint that the agent is being ‘leceh’ (demanding), Loke says he “shot back” with the words: “Don’t we have rights to complain? Dah biasa makan gaji buta!” (‘You’ve become used to earning an easy salary!’).
3.40pm: According to latest unofficial results from 12 polling stations which has closed, DAP is trailing by 1,029 votes.
BN - 1,839
DAP - 810
Ind - 15
Majority - 1,029
Earlier LIVE REPORTS
For readers' comments, please click here.