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Batang Ai by-election on 7 Apr (Updated 6.15pm)

KUCHING, 4 March 2009: Polling for the Batang Ai state by-election here will be held on 7 April, simultaneously with the polls for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah.

Election Commission (EC) chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said today nomination was fixed for 29 March, like for the other two seats.

Notice of the writ would be issued on Friday.

The Batang Ai seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot, the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice-president, on 24 Feb.

Abdul Aziz said that after considering several factors, the EC felt that the Sarawak EC office was ready for the by-election and it was timely to hold the by-elections simultaneously to avoid a long campaigning period.

An allocation of RM400,000 has been approved for the by-election, he told reporters after chairing a two-hour meeting to set the polling date.

A total of 24 polling centres would be opened at schools, longhouses, kindergartens and government premises while 201 workers would be deployed, he said.

He added that Batang Ai had 8,006 registered voters comprising 7,963 ordinary and 43 postal voters.

Abdul Aziz said the EC had also agreed to set up an election campaign enforcement team led by an enforcement officer and comprising a police officer and a local authority representative of the candidates to monitor the campaigning.

The EC was also allowing Malaysia For Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) to act as observers in the by-election.

Dublin won the Iban-majority seat in the state election in May 2006, beating Nicholas Bawin Anggat of Sarawak National Party (Snap) by 806 votes.  — Bernama

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