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Voting ends in hotly contested Sabah election

Malaysiakini Team

Published
Modified 26 Sep 2020, 11:38 am

This report was our live update on the ground in Sabah as voting took place from 8am to 5pm for 73 seats in the state elections. Follow our live results page for the latest developments!

Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.

Follow Malaysiakini's coverage of the Sabah state election here.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Voting ends, counting to begin shortly
  • Voting closes at 5pm
  • 58pct voter turnout at 3pm
  • PKR makes major gains in Sook, split votes hurts GRS
  • Umno Youth chief under home quarantine
  • Cops report incident-free poll
  • Warisan Plus candidate expresses confidence
  • 54pct voter turnout at 2pm
  • Go, go Penampang's Power Ranger!
  • Just a few hours left, says Shafie
  • 48pct voter turnout at 1pm
  • Warisan flags and billboards allegedly removed in secret
  • BN Pitas candidate Sufian positive for Covid-19
  • Last-minute voting area change due to Covid-19 SOP
  • Covid-19 fear and mandatory quarantine keep voters away
  • Turnout of 32 percent by 11am
  • Kapayan voters bristle over long wait, blame 'voter cards'
  • Voters receive advice on time to vote based on age group
  • Think tank: Umno-Bersatu discord give Warisan Plus the edge
  • PKR Sabah chief 'no idea' if Anwar's announcement will affect state polls
  • Nice weather, hope more will vote, says Kitingan in Tambunan
  • Overheating voters face problems entering polling centres
  • Rahman Dahlan calls on voters to support Hajiji
  • Api-Api indie candidate lauds smooth voting process
  • Kit Siang says result of today's polls will affect national elections
  • Noor Hisham announces healthcare reinforcements from peninsula
  • Ambulance arrives carrying voters under home quarantine
  • Voters still adapting to new norms
  • EC officers carry elderly voter into voting room
  • Voter turnout might be lower due to Covid-19 SOPs, says Shafie
  • Not swayed by cybertroopers, says Moyog voter
  • Star incumbent Robert Tawik confident of retaining Bingkor
  • Hot weather at SK Bingkor polling centre
  • Temperature checks at polling centres
  • Young voters out in force as Leiking contests Moyog
  • Voters queue up in Lamag


Voting ends, counting to begin shortly

5.05pm: Dewan Sri Lamag, Kinabatangan - As polling closes statewide, an Election Commission officer arrives at the vote tallying centre for N58 Lamag with ballot papers from SK Sangau, the polling centre under Lamag voting district.

The Lamag voting district has 376 eligible voters, according to EC data.

There are 8,159 eligible voters across six polling districts within the seat.

Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin is contesting the state seat which is under the Kinabatangan parliament constituency he has represented since 1999.


Voting closes at 5pm

5pm: Voting has now closed at polling booths in the Sabah state election which has seen a hot contest for the 73 seats at stake. Please follow our live results page for further news.


58pct voter turnout at 3pm

3.30pm: Turnout as of 3pm is at 58 percent, according to the Election Commission.

This is an additional four percent compared to turnout at 2pm.


PKR makes major gains in Sook, split votes hurts GRS

3.10pm: Polls will officially close at 5.00pm.

However, some smaller polling districts in rural areas have closed earlier, allowing for some early results.

In the state seat of Sook, PKR makes major gains compared to the Warisan Plus alliance's abysmal performance in 2018.

It picked up the Bonor polling district with 88 votes. Perikatan Nasional (Star) and BN (PBRS), which are clashing in the seat, won 42 and 14 votes respectively.

In the 14th general election, BN won the Bonor polling district with 91 votes, followed by Warisan with 30 votes and Star with two. Warisan surrendered the seat to PKR in this election.

Preliminary data also suggests that the clash between PN and BN, even though they are part of the same Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) alliance, will do significant damage.

An example is the polling district of Malaing. PKR is also expected to pick up the polling district due to the GRS internal split.

GRS would have won if PN and BN had combined their votes.

GRS is expected to pick up the polling districts of Kalampun and Lumiri, but with a significantly reduced majority due to split votes.

It is still not yet clear if PKR can win Sook but the gains are significant as the Warisan Plus alliance lost every single polling district in the seat during the last general election.

The seat is being contested by PKR's Raymond Ahuar. His main rivals are PN (Star)'s Ellron Angin and BN (PBRS)'s Bonepes Been. Ellron is the incumbent who represented PBRS in the last general election but has since defected to Star.

The other contenders are PCS' Rebecca Taimin and LDP's Aning Ansawang.


Umno Youth chief under home quarantine

3pm: Kuala Lumpur - Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki confirms that he is under home quarantine after being identified as a close contact of two Covid-19 patients - BN's Pitas candidate Sufian Abd Karim and Umno supreme council member Razlan Rafii.

He tells Malaysiakini that he tested negative twice for the virus and is slated for his third RT-PCR test on Monday (Sept 28).

Asyraf (above) shares on Instagram that he is monitoring the election from home.

"BN Youth machinery in every voting district has been instructed to track down all white-list voters especially young voters who have yet to leave their homes," he says.


Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.

Follow Malaysiakini's coverage of the Sabah state election here.


Cops report incident-free polls 

2.50pm: Polling in the 16th Sabah state election has been incident-free thus far, according to the police.

Sabah police commissioner Hazani Ghazali says polling has been smooth and under control at all polling stations throughout the state, Bernama reports.

Police received 193 reports on the election campaign up to yesterday, he tells a press conference at the Papar district police headquarters this afternoon.

"Fifty-eight investigation papers have been opened and many of them are under Section 500 of the Penal Code (for slander) and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (for improper use of network facilities or network service),” Hazani says.


Warisan Plus candidate expresses confidence

2.15pm: SK Sungai Manila, Sandakan - Warisan Plus N51 Sungai Manila candidate Mahmud Sudin expresses confidence in his coalition's chances after two weeks of campaigning.

"I am happy to be able to perform my responsibility (to vote) and get in line with other voters here," Mahmud (photo) tells reporters after casting his ballot at SK Sungai Manila in Sandakan.

Sungai Manila is a new state seat under the Libaran parliamentary seat, the other two being Sungai Sibuga and Gum-Gum. In GE14, BN made a clean sweep winning Libaran and both Sungai Sibuga and Gum-Gum.

Warisan Plus is fielding seven candidates across state seats in the larger Sandakan area, comprising Sandakan, Libaran and Batu Sapi parliamentary constituencies.

Earlier, DAP's Tanjong Papat incumbent Frankie Poon cast his vote, together with his wife, at Wisma Warisan.

Tanjong Papat is one of two state seats under the Sandakan parliamentary constituency, the other being Elopura. DAP retained Sandakan in a by-election held last year and won both Tanjong Papat and Elopura seats in GE14.


54pct voter turnout at 2pm

2.10pm - Turnout as at 2pm is 54 percent according to the Election Commission.

This is an additional six percent compared to turnout at 1pm.


Go, go Penampang's Power Ranger!

2pm: SMK Tansau, Penampang - The Sabah Information Department has turned to a superhero to encourage more to cast their votes before the 5pm cut-off time.

It shares a photograph of a voter dressed in a white and gold Power Ranger costume at a ballot box in Penampang.

"Even Power Rangers have come out to vote. When will you come?" the department asks in a Facebook post.

The voter turns heads in his costume, which is complete with a mock sword and helmet.


Just a few hours left, says Shafie

1.57pm: Kota Kinabalu - Warisan president Shafie Apdal calls on the people of Sabah to come out and fulfil their responsibility to cast their votes.

Speaking on Twitter, he says there are just around three hours left for voters to make their choice.

"To all Sabahans who are eligible to vote, I hope that today, Sept 26, we will be able to fulfil our responsibility as a voter to go to the polls where we are eligible to vote.

"We only have three to four hours to fulfil our responsibilities at each polling station available - some end at 3pm, some end at 5.00pm.

"Come down in large numbers to fulfil the responsibility to vote in this election," he adds.


48pct voter turnout at 1pm

1.10pm: The Election Commission (EC) is reporting a voter turnout of 48 percent as at noon today.

EC chairperson Abdul Ghani Salleh says he is targeting a total voter turnout of 70 to 75 percent.

He also calls on voters to go out and vote in compliance with the SOP to prevent Covid-19.


Warisan flags and billboards allegedly removed in secret

12.45pm: Bingkor, Keningau - DAP Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii claims that Warisan flags and billboards were secretly removed this morning.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, Yii says they weren't sure who removed the flags but he believes it was an act to sabotage DAP and Warisan.

“It is a deliberate attempt to remove our presence so that when people drive to their voting stations, all they see is PN flags, and posters,” he says.

"While this is a clear act of sabotage, I do believe the voters of Bingkor are smart and will not be influenced by such act of sabotage, but will vote wisely for the future of their state and country," Yii adds.

One of Warisan's giant billboards which has a picture of a big frog is also removed.

Bingkor is one of the seats that is contested by DAP.

Its candidate Peter Saili is challenging the seat's incumbent Robert Tawik from Star and also four other candidates.


BN Pitas candidate Sufian positive for Covid-19

12.30pm: BN's Pitas candidate Sufian Abd Karim has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a Facebook post, Sufian urges all those who had close contact with him to get tested.

"Apologies for all the difficulties. May it not break our spirits in this struggle," he says.


Last-minute voting area change due to Covid-19 SOP

12.15pm: Tadika Peak Nam Toong, Kota Kinabalu - DAP Luyang candidate and incumbent Phoong Jin Zhe says he has visited two other voting centres in the constituency before arriving here.

He says the Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) Gaya campus was one of the voting centres he visited. The voting centre is supposed to be in one particular building, he says, but was changed to another location within the campus at the last minute.

The new location has a larger space in adherence to Covid-19 SOP.

This has caused some inconvenience for elderly voters, Phoong (photo) adds, as the voters needed to walk down a steep hill to get to the new voting area.

After a discussion with the Election Commission (EC), Phoong says they arranged for shuttle vans to ferry the voters from the old building to the new voting area.

Meanwhile, he says he is confident of winning in Luyang again, as his constituents have seen his work over the past two years.

“With that, I leave it to the voters to decide,” he adds.


Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.


Covid-19 fear and mandatory quarantine keep voters away

12.10pm: SMK Bahang, Kapayan - A voter who wants to be known as Lina says her family members and friends who are residing outstation decided not to come back to vote due to fear of Covid-19.

"Initially, they wanted to exercise their responsibilities as voters. They had bought flight tickets to come home. However, they later decided that that was not a good idea.

"Some of my family members and friends who are working in Sarawak could not afford to be quarantined for 14 days after the flight back," she says.

It was reported that Sarawak imposed a 14-day quarantine for those entering the state from Sabah.

SMK Bahang is one of the seven polling centres in Kapayan which could see a total 30,034 voters cast their ballots today.

Warisan Plus candidate Jannie Lasimbang, who is defending her seat, is being challenged by six contenders.


Read more: The who's who in the Sabah 2020 election


Turnout of 32 percent by 11am

12pm: The Election Commission is targeting a voter turnout of 70 to 75 percent today, says chairperson Abdul Ghani Salleh.

He adds that as of 11am, 32 percent of eligible voters have gone to the polls.

"I ask voters to go out and vote in compliance with the SOP to prevent Covid-19," says Ghani.

He was at SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu earlier to inspect the voting process.


Kapayan voters bristle over long wait, blame 'voter cards'

11.30am: SMK Bahang, Kapayan - A group of disgruntled voters comprising mainly elderly and middle-aged people blasts the Election Commission (EC) for being inefficient, saying they have been waiting for close to two hours before being able to cast their ballots.

They relate their long wait to the voters' cards sent to their houses, encouraging them to vote from 10am to noon.

As a result, there is heavy "traffic" now with a long queue of more than 50 voters queueing up at the corridor of the second floor of the school building.

An angry man, who is only willing to be known as Teo, wants help from an EC official to ease the congestion at his voting stream.

"Where is the EC official? We are having a long queue here. Get somebody from the EC to help us," says Teo, adding that he has been waiting for over an hour but it is not yet his turn to vote.

"In the other stream, voters only waited for five minutes to vote. Why can't they direct some of the voters here to another stream?

Echoing him is Lina Ekol, another voter who claims she has waited for close to two hours.

"I am a retired EC officer myself. This has never happened before," she adds.

Based on her experience in the past, she says the EC would normally channel the voters to another stream.

Another voter who does not wish to be named also blames this on the voter card's time stipulation.

"So, I follow the directive. So has many of us," he says.

SMK Bahang is one of the seven polling centres of Kapayan, which comprises 30,034 voters.

An EC official who is stationed at the polling centre says the commission is taking note of voter complaints.

"We are now allowing two voters to enter the room to cast ballots as compared with only one voter allowed to enter at a time," says the official.

She expects this would ease the long queue at the particular stream, increasing its capacity to handle up to 70 voters per hour instead of 25 originally.

She adds that elderly voters should cast their ballots at the ground floor instead of expecting them to climb to the second floor to vote.


Voters receive advice on time to vote based on age group

11.20am: Tadika Peak Nam Toong, Kota Kinabalu - Senior citizen voters are advised to vote between 10am and 12pm, according to 83-year-old Luyang voter Tee On Ben.

Tee comments that the Covid-19 procedures are “very good and under control”.

Luyang voter Oliver Simon Funk (photo), 44, says he was given advice by the Election Commission to vote between 8am and 10am for his age group. He decides not to follow the recommendation.

He says he also believes that DAP will once again capture the seat.

"I think they are fair. Plus, the Warisan government is very fair, unlike the one before," he adds.

DAP incumbent Phoong Jin Zhe is facing a six-cornered fight in Luyang.


Bung Moktar casts his vote

11.15am: SMK Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan - Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin (photo) arrives to cast his vote for N58 Lamag, together with his wife, Nor Asidah Alimudin.

The Kinabatangan MP is also in a five-cornered contest for Lamag, one of two state seats under the Kinabatangan parliamentary constituency.

Bung will travel to Kota Kinabalu later today where BN leaders are expected to gather at the Umno headquarters for the result announcements.


Think tank: Umno-Bersatu discord give Warisan Plus the edge

11.10am: Yesterday, think-thank Ilham Centre predicted that of the 73 seats up for grabs in this Sabah state election, Warisan Plus would comfortably win 23 while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) would secure 19.

It said the scales were tipped in Warisan Plus’ favour in 14 of the remaining 31 seats while GRS stood a good chance in five.

Ilham Centre admitted that fights in the other 12 seats were too close to call. It did not detail which seats these were.


Musa Aman casts his vote

11:05am: SK Sungai Manila, Libaran - Former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman casts his vote for N51 Sungai Manila, a new state seat carved out of N52 Sungai Sibuga.

The former Sungai Sibuga assemblyperson was seen in the area yesterday campaigning for BN candidates in two of three state seats under the Libaran parliamentary constituency.

Musa helmed Libaran Umno for over 20 years until 2018.

In Sungai Sibuga, BN's candidate Mohammad Hamsan Awang Supain is up against Musa's former Umno Wanita chief Armani Mahiruddin, who is now contesting under a Warisan ticket.


Hajiji arrives to vote

10.30am: SK Serusup, Tuaran - PN candidate for Sulaman Hajiji Mohd Noor arrives to cast his vote at the polling station.

He is spotted wearing an orange and white batik shirt, songkok, and face mask, and is accompanied by his wife, Julia Salag.

The Sabah Bersatu chairperson, when met by reporters after casting his ballot at about 10.10am, describes the voting process as orderly, satisfactory, and following the set SOP.

"Hopefully, everyone can vote before the centre is closed.

“I see satisfactory (voter attendance). This is the PDM area of Kampung Serusup where I voted from before. If the trend continues, I am very confident that I can get a big victory in this PDM," he tells reporters before leaving the voting centre soon after.


Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.


PKR Sabah chief 'no idea' if Anwar's announcement will affect state polls

10.25am: SRK Sacred Heart, Kota Kinabalu - PKR’s Api-Api candidate Christina Liew has just voted here. Earlier, she went to three other voting centres in the constituency to monitor the situation.

Liew, who is the Api-Api incumbent, says there were some “teething problems” with the voting process due to the Covid-19 SOPs.

However, the Sabah PKR chief says things have settled down since then.

When asked whether PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement on Wednesday regarding his new majority at the federal level would affect the Sabah state elections, Liew says she has “no idea”.

“I have no idea but whatever it is, we focus now on the state election,” she adds.

Liew says she has a “good feeling” most of the PKR candidates can win.


Read more: The who's who in the Sabah 2020 election


Nice weather, hope more will vote, says Kitingan in Tambunan

10.20am: SK Pekan, Tambunan, Keningau - Star president Jeffrey Kitingan casts his vote accompanied by wife Cecilia Edwin.

Even though a low turnout rate is expected due to a fear of Covid-19, the Keningau MP still hopes the people will exercise their duty to vote as the SOPs to prevent the spread of the virus are being strictly implemented.

"I hope more will come out (to vote) given that the weather seems nice today," he adds.

Kitingan (photo) is defending the Tambunan seat against five candidates, including PBS candidate Silverius Bruno who has already declared his support for Kitingan as part of a deal between the two parties.

Tambunan is an interior seat which has 16,511 voters.


Overheating voters face problems entering polling centres

10.15am: SMK Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan - Sweat soaks through the protective gown worn by a health officer on duty outside SMK Bukit Garam, a polling station for N58 Lamag. Overall four officers are taking turns to record voter temperatures.

It has been less than three hours since polling booths opened but the blazing sun is forcing more voters to "cool off" after recording temperatures above 37.5°C.

Many of them are explaining to the officers on duty they had to walk a distance under the sun as they parked their cars far away from the school entrance.


Rahman Dahlan calls on voters to support Hajiji

10.10am: In a Facebook post late last night, Tuaran Umno division chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan called on voters to give Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) a stable majority in today’s election.

He also threw his support behind Perikatan Nasional (PN)’s Sulaman candidate Hajiji Mohd Noor.

This is amid tensions between Umno and Bersatu over their prospective chief minister candidate. Umno favours its Lamag candidate Bung Moktar Radin while Bersatu is mooting Sabah party chief Hajiji.

Rahman previously opposed Bung as Sabah election director but the duo appeared to resolve their differences after party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi intervened.


Api-Api indie candidate lauds smooth voting process

10.05am: SRK Sacred Heart, Kota Kinabalu - Independent candidate for Api-Api Sim See Heng is here to monitor this voting centre.

He voted earlier at SJK(C) Chung Hwa.

Sim says the situation here is satisfactory and points out that due to limited space, the younger voters have to go upstairs to vote.

Meanwhile, he says the voting centre at SJK(C) Chung Hwa was very efficient and had a wide enough space to accommodate physical distancing.


Kit Siang says result of today's polls will affect national elections

10am: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has likened today’s polls to a “national” election and cautions that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s political survival is on the line.

In a polling day statement, he reminds Sabah voters that their choice will have country-wide consequences.

“The voters of Sabah go to the polls today to decide not only who will be the chief minister of Sabah but the future of the prime minister of Malaysia.

“No prime minister has campaigned so hard in the Sabah state general election as Muhyiddin,” Lim says.

He observes that the Bersatu president has visited the East Malaysian state four times over the past month despite not setting foot in Sabah in his first six months as premier. 


Warisan Plus candidate Darell Leiking votes

9.35am: SK Sugud, Moyog - Warisan Plus candidate for Moyog, Darell Leiking, arrives at the polling centre at SK Sugud school together with his wife Jennifer Jongiji.

However, it takes the 49-year-old Penampang MP almost half an hour before he could cast his ballot.

He is busy catching up with voters, many of whom are requesting to take selfies and to chat with him.

Leiking declines to weigh his chances of winning Moyog.

"We must never be overconfident," he says, adding that he is a little bit tired from campaigning.

This is the first time the two-term Penampang MP is contesting in a state seat.

Moyog is one-half of the Penampang parliamentary constituency which comprises 19,465 voters - 71.12 percent are of the Kadazan Dusun Murut ethnicity.

The Moyog seat is seeing a seven-cornered fight where four of the candidates, included Leiking himself, have family ties.

The family members include PN candidate Joe Suleiman, PCS candidate William Sampil, and PBS candidate John Chryso Masabal.

The voters in Moyog are seen to be open to change as they had abandoned BN-Upko, whom they supported two decades ago, to embrace PKR's Terrence Siambun in the 2013 polls as well as Warisan candidate Jennifer Lasimbang in 2018's GE14.


Noor Hisham announces healthcare reinforcements from peninsula

9.30am - As Covid-19 cases have been ballooning in Sabah ahead of polling day, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announces that five healthcare workers from Selangor and another five from Negeri Sembilan have been sent to the state to reinforce pandemic response efforts.

He shares on Facebook that they arrived in Lahad Datu yesterday.

This is the second batch from Peninsular Malaysia to be flown in after healthcare workers from Terengganu, Kelantan, Pahang, and Kuala Lumpur arrived in Tawau earlier this week.

“The mobilisation of healthcare workers to Sabah will be done in stages and involve those in various fields like physicians, assistant physicians, nurses, medical laboratory technologists, microbiology officers, and others,” Noor Hisham says.

As of noon yesterday, Sabah recorded 730 active cases concentrated in Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu, and Kunak. 


Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.


Ambulance arrives carrying voters under home quarantine

9.25am: SMK Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan - An ambulance arrives at SMK Bukit Garam with two registered voters - a husband and wife, both of whom are listed as Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and who are currently undergoing home quarantine.

"We are not positive (for Covid-19), we are just under quarantine," one of them tells the health officer in charge of the temperature screening station.

A health officer on duty tells Malaysiakini that the couple carries a Health Ministry letter stating that they are allowed to leave their house to vote.


Read more: The who's who in the Sabah 2020 election


Sisters turn out to vote

9.15am: SK Pekan, Keningau - Sisters from the Catholic Church in Tambunan town are exercising their voting rights at the SK Pekan voting centre in Tambunan, Keningau.

They are checking their body temperatures before entering the voting station.

Some voters are seen clad in their traditional outfits.


PBS candidate for Api-Api Yee Moh Chai votes

9.10am: SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu - Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS)'s candidate for Api-Api, Yee Moh Chai, arrives at SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu to vote.

He follows Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) and is waiting for his turn to vote.

Along the way, he greets a few voters and helps straighten the wheel of a wheelchair for a voter.

He is accompanied by his wife and an aide.


Voters still adapting to new norms

9am: SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu - Voters at SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu are still unused to the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Movement in the voting centres has been streamlined, with only one entrance and one separate exit. However, not all voters are aware of this.

A number of voters are seen attempting to leave through the entrance, only for the officers on duty to direct them to the proper exit.

Meanwhile, wheelchairs are being provided for the elderly and disabled, if they require it.


EC officers carry elderly voter into voting room

8.35am: SMK Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan - Election Commission (EC) officers are assisting senior citizen Nursalin Darum, 65, to cast his vote in N58 Lamag.

Two officers lift Nursalin into the voting room for stream one, give him a boost up to the ballot box, and help him walk out the room after.

More EC officials are standing by to facilitate the voting process for the elderly and others with special needs. Many of them have been among the first in line, waiting since earlier this morning.


Voter turnout might be lower due to Covid-19 SOPs, says Shafie

8.30am: SK Bubul Semporna, Semporna - Warisan's Shafie Apdal leaves the polling station at SK Bubul Semporna after casting his ballot.

Speaking to reporters in front of his vehicle, Shafie admits there may be a decrease in voter turnout as a result of the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) implemented at polling stations.

"Usually voters come out in the range of 70 percent. But it is a bit slow, and (factoring in) the SOPs it may not be the same as before.

"We will try to make sure they will go down to vote to fulfil their responsibilities," he says.

Regarding the state election being conducted during the Covid-19 epidemic, which has seen a rise in the number of clusters in Sabah, Shafie says the government will do the necessary.

He adds that the authorities will ensure that control measures are tightened, such as no longer encouraging talks and rallies after campaigning, and tightening border controls.

"I have advised border control, as most of the epidemics come from our neighbours. Sometimes, they come on pilgrimage.

"I have informed the Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) to tighten a little," Shafie says, before leaving the polling station.


Not swayed by cybertroopers, says Moyog voter

8.25am: SK Sugud, Moyog - Voter Corney Lius says he is present to cast his vote at SK Sugud for Warisan's Moyog candidate Darell Leiking.

"Their struggle has yet to be complete," he says.

"I don't believe that Warisan is a party that fights for the illegal immigrants. That is merely propaganda and instigated by cybertroopers. I still trust Warisan," says the 40-year-old.

"I have eight family members and some of them are voting for Warisan," he adds.

Moyog is a Kadazan-Dusun-Murut majority seat that is witnessing a seven-cornered fight in the state polls.


Star incumbent Robert Tawik confident of retaining Bingkor

8.20am: SK Bingkor, Keningau - Star's Bingkor candidate Robert Tawik arrives at the SK Bingkor district polling centre to cast his vote.

"We are confident we will win, as the support from PBS makes us even stronger," says the Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate.

Earlier, PBS announced that it will stop campaigning in Bingkor and Tambunan as a way to resolve the seat overlap between PBS and Star who are nominally allies.

This district polling centre has a total of 1727 voters.


Hot weather at SK Bingkor polling centre

8.17am: SK Bingkor, Keningau - Voters here are going through screening stations to identify if any of them have a body temperature of over 37.5°C or if they have symptoms of Covid-19.

"There may be voters whose temperatures are hot due to the weather and so on. We will first screen them before they are allowed in," says a health official at the station.

Star's Robert Tawik is defending the Bingkor seat against five other candidates.


Temperature checks at polling centres

8.15am: SJK(C) Chung Hwa, Kota Kinabalu - Voters here are going through screening measures for Covid-19 before being allowed to enter the polling centre.

Health officials are present, some to ensure physical distancing is adhered to, while others to take the temperatures of voters.

Voters are directed to their respective voting streams in an orderly manner at a basketball court which has been converted into a waiting area.

Chairs set up for the voters are placed at least one metre apart from each other - part of measures being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on polling day.

In recent days, Sabah has consistently recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in the country. It also currently has a number of active clusters.


Shafie votes in Semporna

8.10am: SK Bubul Semporna, Semporna - Warisan president Shafie Apdal arrives at the SK Bubul Semporna to cast his vote.

The incumbent chief minister is seen arriving with his wife, wearing a white shirt and a face mask.

A guard at the entrance of the polling station applies disinfectant on Shafie's hand before letting him in.

Shafie waves to media personnel who have been waiting for him, before heading into the polling station.


Young voters out in force as Leiking contests Moyog

8.05am: SK Sugud, Moyog - Health officials are sanitising ballot boxes here every two hours to ensure they are safe for voters.

Dozens of voters, particularly those in their 20s and 30s are seen queueing up as election officials guide them through the voting process.

Outside the polling station, voters are seen being ferried in from their villages.

A man tells Malaysiakini that this service is being provided for voters who do not have any transportation.

"This is the instruction of the MP's office. We bring 10 voters in each trip from nearby villages," he says.

Warisan's Penampang MP Darell Leiking is contesting Moyog in a seven-cornered fight. 


Voters queue up in Lamag

8am: SMK Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan - Voters have been waiting in line outside the school gates here - one of 12 polling stations in N58 Lamag - from as early as 7am, 30 minutes before the official start of polling today.

Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin, who is also BN's candidate for Lamag, will be casting his vote here, under the Bukit Garam polling district, with 2,503 eligible voters in six voting streams.

There are 8,159 eligible voters in Lamag - one of two state seats under the Kinabatangan parliamentary seat - which has been held by Bung since 1999.


Decision day in Sabah

7.45am: It's D-Day today - "decision day" for the snap Sabah polls following a failed attempt to oust the ruling Warisan government.

It began when Umno’s Musa Aman announced in late July that he had gathered enough support from Sabah representatives who defected from their parties to form a new state government, with him returning as chief minister.

However, his coup attempt was thwarted by incumbent Chief Minister Shafie Apdal who dissolved the state assembly, paving the way for snap polls.

The Sabah election campaign has seen allies clashing with one another over seats and chief ministerial candidates as well as voter sentiments being whipped up over undocumented migrants, the Covid-19 pandemic, local parties versus peninsular parties as well as development issues.

Now it will all come to a head as 1.12 million eligible Sabahans cast their votes to decide who will lead their new state government. 


Read more: The who's who in the Sabah 2020 election


With 73 seats up for grabs - up from 60 in the last election - voters can choose to support the Warisan Plus coalition, which is made up of Warisan, DAP, PKR, Amanah and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko), or the new Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) comprising of Perikatan Nasional (PN), BN and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). 

Smaller local parties such as Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as well as independent candidates will also be joining the fight.


Read more: Sabah Decides 2020: Making sense of the players, parties and battles


Malaysiakini is providing stories on the Sabah polls for free. Continue to support Malaysiakini and independent journalism by subscribing for as little as RM20 per month.

Follow Malaysiakini's coverage of the Sabah state election here.

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