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S'WAK POLLS | LIVE BLOG | POLLING DAY It's finally D-Day in the Land of the Hornbills after almost two weeks of heated campaigning, which was overshadowed by a helicopter tragedy that took the life of Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Noriah Kasnon.

Sarawakians will decide today between BN's Team Adenan and a fragmented opposition, which seeks to deny the ruling coalition a two-thirds majority.

Sarawak BN is eager to show that its new state leader Adenan Satem is capable of getting solid support, while the opposition is hoping that scandals afflicting PM Najib Razak will shave off some votes from the formidable ruling party.

Polling starts at 8am and end at 5pm. Results are expected to stream in from 7pm. Get details of constituencies at

Follow our LIVE BLOG as the Malaysiakini team in Sarawak brings you the news as it takes place.

5pm: Voting has ended and the counting begins. In the preliminary results, while BN looks set to win, PKR appears to be performing better than in the previous state election, while DAP is observed to have fared poorer in the seats which it has contested.

Catch the results LIVE here.

After 12am: In an unusual development, the Election Commission says the overall voters turnout, which was at 52 percent at 4pm, is 70.01 percent.

The EC, which has announced the turnout rate throughout the day, was uncharacteristically silent about the final tally since 4pm.

4.45pm: Some of the small polling stations in the interiors have closed and counting of ballots has begun.

4pm: The voter turnout is 52 percent at this stage, according to the EC. At this point the turnout is far lower than the final turnouts in 2011 (70 percent) and 2006 (61.89 percent).

3.50pm: Prime Minister Najib Razak tells voters to “vote wisely”.

“Today is the moment Sarawakians decide the future of the land of the hornbills.

“I want to take this opportunity to call on you all to vote and choose the representative who will be your voice.

“Undertake your responsibility. Choose wisely,” writes Najib on his Facebook this afternoon.

3.30pm: Dudong - Election watchdog Pemantau claims indelible ink applied on some voters who cast their ballots at SJK Thai Kwang in Dudong can be washed off.

According to Pemantau polls watch coordinator Zoe Randhawa, the incident is reported by one of their observers.

"His wife's ink washed off. He then asked more people from that polling station, and he found two more people with ink washed off.

"So far, it is only for that polling station. All other reports are of ink not washing off at all," she tells Malaysiakini.

3pm: With two hours to go, the EC reports the turnout is at 50 percent.

3pm: Former transport ministry secretary-general Ramon Navaratnam pays respects to Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Ministry secretary-general Sundaran Annamalai, who perished in the helicopter tragedy at the height of the campaign.

“Sundaran's tragic and untimely demise has come as a shock to his relatives and his PTD colleagues and his many friends.

“He was a dedicated, diligent and honest and brilliant senior civil servant,” says Ramon in a statement.

“Indeed he was an excellent example of a public servant with distinctive high leadership qualities.

“He shall be sadly missed but fondly remembered as a true Malaysian who served his beloved country loyally to the very end,” he adds.

2pm: Voter turnout is at 44 percent, says the EC.

1.45pm: The EC announces the turnout has only reached 39 percent, with just several hours more to vote.

12.54pm: Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian says turnout at the polls today has been low so far, and urges Sarawakians to come out in numbers.

“Our observers have reported low overall turnout of 35 percent as at noon. I urge all registered voters to come out to exercise your democratic rights to choose your representative in the state assembly.

“I would also like to remind officers of the EC to carry out their duties impartially and provide fair treatment for workers of all parties.

“If anyone observes untoward incidents or fraud, please report to Bersih at +6011 3133 9820 or ROSE volunteers at 016-860 4998 (Ann Teo) or 016-221 9996 (Suresh),” says Bian in a statement.

12.30pm - Sibu: A banner with the words "you deserved it" in Chinese along with a drawing of an upside down helicopter with "BN" written on it surfaces in Batu Kitang.

The banner is put up under DAP's billboard, and makes it appear as if it is the work of DAP.

A picture of the banner has made the rounds in Whatsapp after it was spotted.

Asked about the banner, Sarawak DAP chairperson Chong Chien Jen during his visit to the polling centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Satria Jaya, says the act is "distasteful".

"This is very low politics; they should not use this disaster or tragedy as tools of their campaign.

"This is really below the belt for them to do this," Chong tells Malaysiakini.

12pm - Satria Jaya, Kuching: The number of voters turning up at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Satria Jaya, Kuching, for Kota Sentosa constituency starts to pick up with less than 6 hours to go before the polling station closes.

According to one of the election commission staff, the low turnout in the morning may be due to some voters who are caught up with work on Saturday.

Incumbent Kota Sentosa assemblyperson and state opposition leader Chong Chieng Jen arrives at the polling station to greet the voters.

When asked to comment about the possibility of low voter turnout today, he hopes more will come out to vote in the afternoon before the polling station closes.

"It is a beautiful morning," he adds.

12pm - Kuching: According to the Election Commission, the turnout of voters is 35 percent as at 12pm.

11.57am - Kuching: According to the Election Commission, the turnout of voters is 31 percent as at 11am.

11:50am - Piasau, Miri: The voting at SJK Chung Hua Lutong is going steadily, with few voters present but more constantly arriving.

However, an election worker tells Malaysiakini that it has been busy since early morning.

"It was crowded since 7am but things are now a little more relaxed," she says

There are 5,048 voters assigned to the eight polling streams here, meaning that this polling centre is the largest in Piasau and has three more polling streams than the next largest polling centre in the constituency.

According to the election worker, almost 2,000 voters at that centre have already cast their ballots.

When met at the school, BN candidate Sebastian Ting tells Malaysiakini that polling is going smoothly.

"There is no trouble or anything," he says.

11.45am - Kuala Lumpur: Pemantau chief and Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah tells Malaysiakini that campaigning online is an offence.

"Online campaigning is the same as offline campaigning," she says when contacted.

She adds that an election petition can be filed against those who are campaigning online in accordance with Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act, for breach of election rules.

"But the law is such that you have to prove that campaigning online had unfairly influenced voters, which is very difficult to do.

"By right they should be disqualified, but that's just how it is," she says.

11.30am - Satok: Three senior citizen siblings steal the limelight at the polling centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Merpati Jepang, which falls under the Satok state seat.

The three women - Soyong, 92, Khairiah 84, and Enang Labor 86 - who were born in the area said that they had voted in the last six state elections, when Johari Openg from PBB contested for the seat.

"We voted for the first time when Abang Jo was a candidate," they say while laughing.

Voter turnout may be low but for the siblings, it is a serious matter.

"We are still strong, (and able) to go out to vote; it is our responsibility," they say.

11:30pm - Kuching: As noon approaches, voter turnout remains low at some voting areas within the state capital.

Election Commission workers and police personnel at SMB Kuching High, who wished to remain anonymous, say there are fewer people coming out compared to the last election.

"The weather is good in Kuching. Maybe more will come in the afternoon," says one EC worker.

Election observers from both SUPP and DAP dot the voting area. There are no party affiliated voter registration booths in sight.

11.30am - Kuching: A posting on the BN candidate for Batu Kawah Sim Kui Han's official Facebook page urges voters to vote for the ruling coalition.

"Please vote early. Exercise your democratic right - once every 5 years. Please don't let anything or anyone stopping you from voting.

Please vote for BN. #TeamAdenan. #UnitedWeCanBee," reads the post when noticed an hour ago.

Campaigning is supposed to have stopped today.

It is not known how much control Sim personally has over his official Facebook page.

11.30am - Kuching: According to the Election Commission, the voters turnout is 20 percent as at 10am - the first two hours of voting.

10.55am - Satok, Kuching: Former chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is now Sarawak governor, arrives at Sekolah Kebangsaan Merpati Jepang to cast his ballot.

He is accompanied by his Syrian wife, Ragad Waleed Alkurdi.

Abdul Taib has the distinction of being the longest-serving chief minister in Sarawak. This state election is first one without him leading the charge for the ruling PBB in 33 years.

10.45am - Satria Jaya, Kuching: Voters turn up early to cast their votes before heading off for their breakfast on a slow Saturday morning at SK Satria Jaya.

SK Satria Jaya is one of the polling stations for Kota Sentosa seat.

One of the polling staff tells Malaysiakini that the voter turnout is noticeable much lower than that of the 2013 general election and 2011 state election.

"It looked rather slow today although the polling day is held on a Saturday. I think the total turnout will be much lower than the last state election. There was much more hype and excitement then," he says.

Lo, 48, a primary school teacher, says that there is a general feeling of “hopelessness” among voters in Kuching.

"I think not many voters will turn up today. It (voters’ sentiment) feels rather cold to me. The in-fighting between the two opposition parties has left many of us disappointed," he says.

10.30am: Miri - Election watchdog Pemantau has also recorded at least three instances where voters have had their polling station changed.

Chan Tsu Chong, a member of Pemantau's Miri team, tells Malaysiakini that this most likely happened because of the redelineation.

"Under the law this is not wrong, but the failure here was that the EC did not inform voters about the change," Chan says.

He expects a significant number of people may be affected by the redelineation, but may not be reporting it as they may have discovered the change before polling day.

10:30am - Piasau, Miri: Polling at the SK St Joseph Miri is off to a slow start this morning, with only a handful of voters queuing at each polling stream.

The DAP candidate Alan Ling says he is hoping for a stronger turnout.

"A better turnout rate is crucial in mixed seats like Senadin and Piasau," he says when contacted.

Earlier at 9am, he and his wife Florence Lau cast their votes at the school, while carrying their two-year-old daughter.

10.20am, Kuching: According to the Election Commission, the voters turnout is 11 percent as at 9am - the first hour of voting.

9.45am - Marudi: Despite election rules prohibiting campaigning on polling day, Marudi BN candidate Penguang Manggil's Facebook page today publishes a poster urging voters to vote for him.

The poster also urges Marudi voters to come out early to vote, and not to forget to bring their identity cards.

It is unclear to what extent does Penguang owns or controls the Facebook page, but it has been highlighting his campaign messages and activities since early March this year.

9:30pm - Kuching: Amanah candidate for Demak Laut Fidzuan Zaidi says he will lodge a report the police and the Election Commission (EC) regarding the placement of the BN's voter registration booth, also known as "pondok panas".

"Officially, it is to help BN track voters. But they create confusion among new voters and there is definitely a psychological impact. They appear like they are part of the EC machinery. They're not supposed to be within 100 metres of the voting area," says Fidzuan.

Fidzuan also said he will lodge a complaint regarding the transfer of urban voters to seats surrounding Kuching.

"Although urban voters tend to vote opposition, even Amanah, what people don't know is that the transfer of voters helps reduce the opposition majority in the urban seats. They (BN) are interested in lowering the number of Chinese voters in certain seats and are willing to take a hit in the surrounding rural seats,' charges Fidzuan.

Party volunteers from both BN and Amanah also noted a rather low voter turnout for Demak Laut. The BN candidate for the seat is a medical practitioner, Dr Hazland Hipni.

9.30am: Pujut, Miri - There are numerous cases of voters having their polling stations changed here, according to a DAP polling agent.

"Like this one guy, he was supposed to vote here but now he finds out that he has to vote in SK Datuk Permaisuri instead.

"This is very troublesome for voters, there was no announcement of the changes," Cheng Ah Kee tells Malaysiakini.

Meanwhile some 100m up the road, BN has set up a resting area for voters using their shuttle service.

Down the road, some 50m from the school entrance, a banner near a bus stop which says "Kamek PBB tapi undi PAS (I'm with PBB but am voting PAS)" which was up earlier this morning has been taken down.

9.30am – Demak Laut, Kuching: Voters at SK Tabuan Jaya here are asked by BN volunteers at the school entrance to "register" themselves with party workers in order to receive a "voter slip". This is done before the voters enter the school to place their vote.

Some first-time voters, who declined to be named, admit confusion when approached by volunteers. Most voters appeared to have filled in information on the slip, including name, identification, voting address and polling stream.

9.20am - Bukit Assek, Sibu: BN candidates for Bawang Assan and Dudong, Wong Soon Koh and Tiong Thai King respectively, vote at the Sekolah Kebangsaan St Rita.

Tiong says he is confident of wresting the Dudong seat from DAP in this rematch with Yap Hoi Liong. Tiong lost to Yap by 317 votes in 2011.

Meanwhile, DAP candidate for Bawang Assan Chiew Sung Ngie was at the St Marcellin Catholic High School at 8.30am to cast her ballot.

9.15am - Dudong, Sibu: In one of the most heated seats in Sibu, DAP candidate Yap Hoi Liong casts his vote at Sekolah Kebangsaan S.E.D.C, an apparently quiet place where voters come one at a time.

As the sun is out, some voters are seen carrying umbrellas.

9.10am - Satok, Kuching: Caretaker chief minister Adenan Satem arrives at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Merpati Jepang to cast his vote.

He appears to have recovered from flu over the past couple of days.

Accompanying him is BN’s Satok candidate Johari Openg.

While leaving the polling station, a woman shouted “uhaaa…” in support of Adenan, but she was quickly told to hush up by an Election Commission official.

8.30am - Pending, Kuching: SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is contesting in Batu Kawah, casts his ballot in Pending constituency at SMK Bandar Kuching No 1.

Speaking to reporters later, he urged voters not be moved by emotion when casting their ballots.

"Please don't let any speculation or sympathy (affect your choice)..." he said.

Asked to comment on whether news that his DAP opponent Christina Chiew had a miscarriage would swing votes against him, Sim skirted the question.

"It's sad to hear that. Miscarriage is life-threatening. I strongly advise her - life is more important than politics."

8.30am - Pujut, Miri: BN direct candidate for Pujut Hii King Chiong has a friendly run in with PAS candidates Jofrie Jaraiee, both of whom are casting their votes at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Luak.

While the redelineation exercise has not changed the number of seats in Miri town, it appears to have affected some voters.

56-year-old Cyril Dan tells Malaysiakini he had been voting for the past six state elections in Senadin.

"But I checked a few days ago and to my surprise I'm now a voter in Piasau."

He is however resigned to the change, and predicts it will be a tough fight for BN in both Piasau and Senadin.

"While (BN Piasau candidate) Sebastian Ting has dealt with local issues, it seems that BN is mostly relying on Team Adenan.

"DAP however is dealing with more specific issues and this gives them an advantage," he adds.

8:05am - Piasau, Miri: BN candidate Sebastian Ting has cast his ballot - the second ballot at Stream 2 of the SK Jalan Bintang polling centre.

The first to vote at this polling stream is the 68-year-old Sim King Sia (photo). She was invited to cast the first ballot because she required assistance to go into the polling station.

Speaking to reporters later, Ting said he was glad that for the cool, cloudy weather overhead. It had been raining earlier this morning and there are still occasional light drizzles, after days of scorching heat.

"This is a beautiful weather today. The weather has been kind. Thank God for that.”

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