BUKIT MERTAJAM, 26 Aug 2008: Nearly half of the 58,459 constituents in Permatang Pauh have cast their votes in the parliamentary by-election as of noon today.
Election Commission secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said 26,914 or 42.98 percent of the voters had exercised their rights as of noon but the figure, though inspiring, was slow to pick up due to the traffic jams in the polling areas.
Rain in areas like Seberang Jaya and Sama Gagah since noon is expected to affect the voter turnout. The Meteorological Department had forecast rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said that following traffic congestion in the polling areas, especially in Penanti, police would deploy additional manpower to disperse traffic.
"The situation is under control now and we seek public cooperation to follow police instructions on traffic flow to ease the congestion," he said.
He also said that police detained a man for obstructing a public officer from discharging his duties near a polling centre here.
The 22-year-old man from Jalan Mengkuang, Butterworth, was detained as police stepped in to defuse a standoff between two groups of party supporters under the Jalan Mengkuang Titi flyover here, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak expressed disappointment over the scuffle which he said was caused by the presence of a large number of opposition supporters from outside.
"They [Parti Keadilan Rakyat] brought supporters from outside. When they met Barisan Nasional supporters they started to act aggressively, so a scuffle ensured. I’m disappointed," Najib said when interviewed on Edisi7 news at noon.
He said police would ensure that security was under control during the announcement of the election result tonight.
The by-election is a three-corner fight among PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the BN’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Hanafi Mamat of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim). – Bernama