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Rantau sees highest turnout since GE14 as polls close

Malaysiakini Team  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LIVE REPORTS | Voters in Rantau are casting their ballots in a high stakes by-election.

BN acting chairperson Mohamad Hasan, who has held the seat for over 14 years, is looking to score a hattrick for the coalition following its previous wins in the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih polls.

Meanwhile, after two consecutive defeats, Pakatan Harapan is hoping PKR candidate Dr S Streram would reverse its fortunes. The party led by Anwar Ibrahim won in the three by-elections it contested.

A total of 20,804 voters will decide between Mohamad, Streram, as well as independent candidates R Malar and Mohd Nor Yasin.

The Rantau seat is a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas. Some 55 percent of the voters are Malays, Indians (27 percent) and Chinese (18 percent).

Follow Malaysiakini's live report.

Polling ends

5.30pm: This concludes Malaysiakini's coverage of the polling exercise in the Rantau by-election.

Follow our live coverage of the results here.

Reporting by Zikri Kamarulzaman and B Nantha Kumar; photography by Azneal Ishak; graphics and social media by Syariman Badrulzaman and Ewe Ying Yenn.

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EC says 74pct voted as of 4pm, higher than total turnout for Semenyih

4.30pm - Despite the rain, turnout in Rantau has reached 74 percent as of 4pm. This surpasses the 73 percent total turnout for the Semenyih by-election.

Polls will remain open for another hour.

EC says 69pct voted as of 3pm

3.20pm: Turnout as of 3pm is 69 percent, according to the EC.

Downpour affects voting

3pm - Heavy rain in Rantau is affecting the voting process. Both BN and Harapan supporters ask EC officials to allow the senior citizens waiting in line to cast their ballots to seek shelter in the polling stations.

Supporters ignore EC's instructions and continue to canvass for votes with hand signals indicating the figures 1 and 4, which are the respective candidates' numbers on the ballot paper.

BN supporters sing, Harapan supporters chant 'bossku pencuri'

2.50pm - Taman Angsamas: BN and Harapan supporters grow in numbers as storm clouds gather.

Besides the usual chants and insults, BN supporters break out into a song, urging Rantau voters to ensure victory for Mohamad.

Harapan supporters respond with chants of "reformasi" and "bossku pencuri" (bossku is a thief).

The crowd thins out when it starts raining, but dozens with umbrellas stand their ground.

Turnout at 2pm passes 60pct mark

2.25pm - Turnout as of 2.00pm is at 61 percent, according to the EC. This surpasses the 2.00pm turnout during the Semenyih by-election, which was at 57 percent.

'I have a feeling Streram will win'

2.10pm - Taman Angsamas: It is relatively calm in this suburban polling district.

BN supporters have taken to the shade under tents or trees, while about two dozens Harapan supporters are braving the intense heat.

At a local school turned polling centre, several of those Malaysiakini spoke to believe Mohamad will win due to his many contributions.

However, others are upbeat about Streram's chances.

"I don't know how to say it, but it is a feeling I have (that Streram will win)" N Rajkumar (photo, below) tells Malaysiakini.

Turnout at 55pct as of 1pm

1.45pm - Turnout as of 1pm is 55 percent according to the EC.

12.40pm - The EC estimates that turnout as of noon is at 47 percent.

Bride votes, denies blue wedding dress related to polls

12.10pm - SRJK(C) Chung Hua: Blushing bride Nurliyana Mohd Yazid, 30, makes a stop at the school to cast her ballot, enroute to her wedding ceremony.

"I'm very happy. There are two majlis today, one for voting and one to celebrate our marriage," she says.

She adds that her dark blue wedding dress has nothing to do with the election and was just a coincidence.

EC: Turnout at 11am is 38pct

11.45am - SK Nyatoh: EC reveals that the voter turnout as of 11am is 38 percent.

EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun targets a turnout of 76 percent before polling ends at 5.30pm.

Outnumbered Harapan supporters get heckled in town

11.10am - Pekan Rantau: On the main road in Rantau town, some 100 metres away from SRJK(C) Chung Hua, Harapan supporters are vastly outnumbered by BN and PAS supporters.

There are close to 100 BN and PAS supporters, and just about 20 Harapan supporters.

The BN and PAS supporters heckle the Harapan supporters with the usual insults such as "hancing" (smells of urine) and "tipu" (lies), while the Harapan supporters stand in silence.

Shouting match erupts over vote canvassing

10.50am - SK Nyatoh: Harapan and BN supporters engage in a shouting match over vote canvassing outside the school.

Harapan supporters are livid that a pickup truck bearing the BN logo is allowed to park within 50 metres of the school.

The supporters trade barbs and argue over the boundaries where party logos are allowed. During the commotion, the truck is removed from the spot.

EC: Turnout 26pct as of 10am

10.20am - The Election Commission estimates turnout as of 10am is 26 percent.

There are traffic jams in several pockets of Rantau, especially near schools turned polling centres. Rantau largely consists of single-lane roads.

9.55am: The Election Commission estimates that turnout as of 9am is at 13 percent.

Polls close at 5.30pm.

9.50am - Sekolah Kebangsaan Sega: Chua Chen Ho, 67, is confident Mohamad will win the by-election.

"This whole kampung supports Mohamad. Only the youngsters support Pakatan Harapan," he tells Malaysiakini.

Chua's son, who is an air-cond technician in Kuala Lumpur, will not be returning to vote as he is working.

Voters' body language positive, says Mohamad

9.05am - SRJK(C) Chung Hua: BN candidate Mohamad Hasan is feeling confident about retaining the seat.

"I am happy because when I met voters in the first and second streams, their body language is positive. We had good feedback throughout the campaign," he tells reporters after casting his ballot.

Streram: I hope God is with us today

8.50am - SJK(T) Rantau: Harapan's Dr S Streram casts his vote and notes that today is his 34th wedding anniversary.

"I hope God is with us today to win this state seat for Harapan," he tells reporters.

Mohamad's ill brother votes

8.30am - SRJK(C) Chung Hua: Mohamad arrives at the polling centre.

His eldest brother, Azman, greets him at the school gates, and the two embrace each other.

Azman, who is suffering various ailments and has difficulty walking, had cast his ballot earlier.

"Tok Mat must win," he tells reporters.

"I am voting for my little brother because he is contesting. No matter how difficult it is (due to his illness), I will get up and come to vote," he adds.

Polling starts

7.30am - SRJK(C) Chung Hua: Independent candidate R Malar is the first voter in at the school - 30 minutes before polling starts.

"Today is the first time I'm voting in Malaysia," she tells the media excitedly as she queues up outside her polling stream.

Malar had been living in Canada for 25 years before returning to Malaysia in 2016.

She arrived at the school at 6.40am.

Defending candidate Mohamad Hasan will also be voting at this school. 


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