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Tanjung Piai by-election: Voting ends, counting begins

LIVE REPORTS | Voting for the keenly fought Tanjung Piai by-election is currently underway.

A resurgent BN and the newly formed Muafakat National are attempting to wrest the seat from Pakatan Harapan which won the seat with a very thin majority in 2018.

There are 52,698 voters in this semi-rural constituency of which 57 percent of voters are Malay, 42 percent are Chinese and about 1 percent are of other races.

LIVE reports of the polling process follow:

Voting ends, counting begins

5.30pm - The polls in the Tanjung Piai by-election has officially closed.

Counting will now begin. 

This concludes Malaysiakini's live coverage of the voting process. To follow our live results coverage, kindly click here.

Turnout at above 70 percent

5PM: According to the Election Commission, the turnout as at 4pm stands at 70 percent.

Polls will close at 5.30pm. With 90 minutes of voting time left, the final turnout is expected to be near the mid 70 percent.

For comparison, the final turnout for the last five by-elections are as follow:

Port Dickson 58.3%

Cameron Highlands 68.79%

Semenyih 73.30%

Rantau 79.31%

Sandakan 54.40%

Turnout patterns favouring BN?

4PM: Malaysiakini's analysis of turnout patterns suggests that polling districts where Pakatan Harapan did well during the last general election are seeing lower than average turnout rates this time round, as of 2pm. 

Conversely, the turnout for polling districts where BN did well the last round is seeing higher than average turnout numbers. 

One way of interpreting this is that as a proportion, fewer voters who backed Harapan the last round are turning up compared to BN supporters.

So if the voting sentiments remain the same as GE14, then BN will most likely snatch victory.

However, if Harapan had managed to convert some BN supporters, then the turnout numbers doesn't give the opposition coalition an advantage. 

Turnout rate: 64pct

3.45pm - The turnout rate looks set go over two-thirds. According to the Election Commission's estimate, some 64 percent of voters have voted as of 3pm.

Polls close at 5.30pm. 

Turnout rate: 56pct

3.15pm - According to the Election Commission's estimate, the turnout rate as of 2pm was 56 percent. 

The turnout rate is comparable to the 2pm turnout for the Semenyih by-election, but is lower than the Cameron Highlands and Rantau by-elections. 

Based on the turnout trends for those three by-elections (not including Sandakan), Malaysiakini expects the eventual turnout rate to be very close to the 70 percent mark.

Muhyiddin: Turnout rate satisfactory

2.15pm - Pontian district police station: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin receives information that the turnout rate so far is 51 percent, which he says is satisfactory.

He hopes that voters will continue to show up before polls close at 5.30pm.

So far the police have received some reports on provocations, but there was nothing else out of the ordinary, he says. 

Muhyiddin (above) does not appear to have been informed about three reports lodged by individuals who claim that they were unable to vote because someone else had voted on their behalf. 

'Phantom voters' haunting Tg Piai?

2pm - According to Yong Peng MCA head Lim Soon Peng, three individuals couldn't vote this morning because someone had voted in their place. 

In a Facebook video post today, Lim, accompanied by one complainant, says the complainants have lodged police reports and clearly do not have their fingers marked. 

"The Election Commission must explain... This may go down in history as one of the dirtiest election ever," says Lim. 

Teresa still campaigning

1pm - Kuala Lumpur: The campaigning period is officially over, but not for DAP deputy secretary-general Teresa Kok. 

At about 9am, she posted a message on her Facebook page with a cross next to the Pakatan Harapan logo.

Turnout rate: 43pct

12.55pm - The Election Commission estimates that the turnout rate is 43 percent as of noon. This is lower than the Cameron Highlands and Rantau by-elections earlier this year, but marginally higher than the Sandakan by-election. 

Rain is expected in the afternoon which might dissuade some voters from turning up.

Salahuddin noticing a change in voter attitudes

12.45 PM - Serkat : Local boy Salahuddin Ayub, who is also the agriculture minister, cast his ballot late today.

When met at a shop outside the school, Salahuddin tells the media that he is feeling good about Harapan's chances in Serkat and Tanjung Piai town.

He says there is a noticeable change in the body language of those he meets, compared to before last year's general election.

"Some hug me, and kiss me (on the cheek), some hold my hands tight, so you can definitely see a difference there," he says.

Serkat is the home town of the Dr Farid Md Rafik, whose death last month paved way for the by-election.

In the general election, Harapan had bagged 366 votes, BN 844, and PAS 93 in Serkat.

Meanwhile, Salahuddin also rubbished a banner attributing him as saying fisherfolk should not be lazy.

"I have never said that. In my time as minister I have only called fishers and farmers as national heroes," he says.

Turnout rate 35 percent as of 11am

12.30pm:  The Election Commission announces that the voter turnout rate is at 35 percent as of 11am

Najib shows up, BN supporters ecstatic

12pm - SJK(C) Yu Ming, Pekan Nanas: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan drops by, causing a frenzy.

On one side, BN supporters are chanting "Malu apa bossku" (what is there to be ashamed of) while the Harapan supporters are chanting "pencuri" (thief). 

Najib doesn't stay for long and makes his way to a nearby restaurant, accompanied by BN supporters. 

Asked if he is still stumping for BN, Najib says here is merely here to meet BN activists.

"How can there still be campaigning? I just come to join in the festivities," he said casually. 

Najib spent about 15 minutes in the area before departing.

Riot police called in

11.35am - SJK(C) Yu Ming, Pekan Nanas: A Election Commission official is seen telling BN supporters to keep quiet but the crowd doesn't comply. 

Eventually, police in riot gear show up to keep the peace. 

"I told them to stop bothering the voters, but they want to remain here because there is shade," said Election Commission official Norlinah Jamman. 

Traffic gridlock stretches for 1km

10.45am - Teluk Kerang: There is a traffic gridlock stretching for almost 1km long from Rembah heading towards Teluk Kerang.

The crawl is caused by those making drop offs and pick-ups at Sekolah Kebangsaan Teluk Kerang which is situated at the main road.

Meanwhile, on the way from Teluk Kerang to Kukup, an orange psywar banner bearing the image of Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Salahuddin Ayub has been put up next to the road.

The banner reads: "Nelayan jangan jadi pemalas" (fisherfolk don't be lazy).

While others resort to taunting, Berjasa chooses piety

9.55am - SK Telok Kerang, Pontian: Dozens of Pakatan Harapan and BN activists are taunting each other near the polling centre. 

BN and PAS activists are chanting "Candidate No 2" and "Arwah". The term "Arwah" refers to a gaffe by Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman during the campaign. 

Harapan activists' retort with "Candidate No 4". 

A handful of Berjasa activists are spotted reading the Quran nearby. 

One activist who only wants to be known as Rohani said her party has about five to six people stationed at every polling centre, doing the same thing. 

Gerakan's Wendy cries foul over last-minute campaigning

9.00am - SJK(C) Yu Ming, Pekan Nanas: Last-minute vote canvassers from Pakatan Harapan, BN and PAS are lining up the streets in front of polling centres throughout the constituency. 

Gerakan candidate Wendy Subramaniam (below) takes exception to BN for doing so.

"I am quite sad that the (the previous ruling coalition) of over 60 years is still campaigning until now.

"Each polling station I went, they are behaving like this. They are showing their party logo and the hand gesturing the number two.

"If your candidate are so famous here, why are you still using such tactics at this moment?" she ask a group of reporters.

Campaigning is supposed to have stopped at midnight, but supporters from both major coalitions are still chanting slogans outside polling centres.

Pasir Gudang MP and Johor PKR chief Hassan Karim is spotted among the last-minute vote canvassers. 

Hassan, a lawyer, says the conduct of the party activists were acceptable because it is kept 50m away from the perimeter of the polling centre. 

Wee is an early bird

8.18am - SJK(C) Yu Ming, Pekan Nanas: BN candidate Wee Jeck Seng (below) is voting in this school. His wife Lim Joo Hon is with him. 

He tells the media that he has been up since 5am.

Over at SK Serkat, independent candidate Farah Aryani Abd Ghaffar, who is not a voter in Tanjung Piai, drops by to greet voters.

She tells Malaysiakini she is feeling "95 percent" confident of winning, and is sure she can get the support of local taxi drivers as well as traders.

Faridah is representing Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia (GTSM) in the group's first foray in an election.

Of the six candidates, only Farah and Wendy Subramaniam are not Tanjung Piai voters.

Karmaine among early voters

8.05 - SK Telok Kerang: Pakatan Harapan candidate Kaimaine Sardini (below) is voting in this school.

He is seen chatting up voters who have been standing in line since 7.30am. 

One of them was Aminah Kasdi, 89, who tuns up to vote in a wheelchair.

The weather for the first half of the day is expected to be good, according to the Meteorological Department. Heavy rain is expected in the afternoon.

Voting begins

8am - Tanjung Piai: Good morning and welcome to Malaysiakini's live coverage of the voting process for the Tanjung Piai by-election.

A quick recap. Campaigning over the past two weeks has been intense. BN entered the contests as favourites but aggressive groundwork by Pakatan Harapan is believed to have closed the gap.

Many voters approached by Malaysiakini during the campaign said they remain undecided.

Meanwhile, vote canvassers have also expressed concern that the turnout will likely be low, as many outstation voters have indicated to their relatives back home that they are not motivated to return for the vote.

BN is fielding two-term Tanjung Piai MP Wee Jeck Seng, who was ousted last year by the late Dr Md Farid Md Rafik from Bersatu.

Replacing Farid is Tanjung Piai Bersatu chief Karmaine Sardini.

Gerakan has fielded its deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam, and Berjasa its president Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz.

Also contesting are independents Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.