Kuala Besut by-election on July 24, during fasting month

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By Hasbullah Awang Chik

The Election Commission (EC) today announced polling day for the Kuala Besut by-election on July 24 with nomination day falling on July 12.

This means the by-election will be held during the fasting month.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said advanced voting would be conducted on July 20 and the Besut district officer has been appointed as the returning officer.

"The EC has also agreed to set up an election campaign enforcement team which will be led by Saidi Salleh, the Besut District Council Council secretary," he said.

The Kampung Raja Rakan Muda Complex will be the nomination centre and Besut District Council Hall will be the centre to tally the number of ballots.

"Nine polling centres will be opened for the people to cast their ballots, one for advanced voting and the rest on polling day," Abdul Aziz told a news conference at the EC headquarters in Putrajaya.

Abdul Aziz said the RMAF Gong Kedak multi-purpose hall will be opened as the advanced voting centre while eight schools with 35 voting streams would be opened on polling day.

"Three hundred and five election support staff have been appointed and the by-election will cost RM760,000. The electoral roll which has been updated up to June 26 will be used," he said.

Abdul Aziz said 17,683 voters could cast their ballots comprising 16,534 ordinary voters,  1,134 army personnel and their spouses, 14 policemen and one overseas voter.

The by-election for the Kuala Besut state assembly seat in Terengganu is taking place following the death of Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar late last month as a result of complications due to pneumonia.

Dr Rahman was the executive councillor who held the health, women and community development portfolio.

In the May 5 general election, Dr Rahman of the Barisan Nasional defeated PAS candidate Napisah Omar with a 2,435-vote majority.

On a related matter, the EC has decided that live broadcasting of the vote counting by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) in the by-election is not necessary.

Abdul Aziz said this was because during the vote counting, the election agents of the contesting parties would be present in the vote-counting room.

"The EC is an independent body and if RTM wants to record the vote-counting process and the EC allows this, it cannot reject the applications from others, if there are.

"The EC has decided that any recording of the vote counting process should be managed by the EC itself and not by other parties.

"For the Kuala Besut by-election, the EC has also discussed and decided that there is no need for (TV) recording of the vote counting. We will discuss (for future by-elections)," he added.

Yesterday, Communication and Multmedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the ministry would discuss with the EC soon to allow RTM to broadcast the counting of votes in the Kuala Besut by-election, to enable the public to see that the election was carried out in a fair and transparent manner.

"RTM is a government media and should be allowed to be in the vote-counting room until the results are announced," he had said.- July 5, 2013.

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