GE15: PANIC, FLOODS, FIRST-TIME EXCITEMENT COLOUR VOTING IN SARAWAK
KUCHING, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- Floods, anxiety as well as the excitement of being first-time voters is colouring polling day of the 15th General Election (GE15) in Sarawak today.
Even persons with disabilities (PwD) did not want to be left out as they were eager to fulfil their responsibility as Malaysians to elect the government.
Gabungan Pasti Sarawak (GPS) candidate Datuk Willie Mongin had a little panic attack when he was unable to find his identity card when he was about to cast his vote at the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Chung Hua Batu 15, Puncak Borneo, about 25 kilometres from here.
The 47-year-old incumbent for the Puncak Borneo parliamentary seat said he arrived at the polling centre at 8.25 am and lined up with other voters to wait for their turn to check the name list.
“At that moment, I panicked as I could not find my identity card which was not in the pocket of my pants nor was it in my wallet. I had to get out of that line but fortunately found it in the document bag in the car...so I had to line up all over again,” he said.
In Santubong, turquoise blue Malaysian batik was the choice of Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, the GPS candidate for the Santubong parliamentary seat and Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Party (PBB) women vice-chief, when she arrived at the polling centre at Kampung Panglima Seman Lama Multipurpose Hall here at about 9.30 am. She was accompanied by her husband Kamil Misuari.
In the Petra Jaya parliamentary constituency, GPS candidate and PBB senior vice-president Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof with his wife Datin Seri Raziah Mohd Tahir arrived at the SK Rakyat Haji Bolhassan polling centre in Petra Jaya, Kuching at about to 8.05 am to cast their ballots.
Speaking to the media, Fadillah hoped that the good weather conditions in Kuching today will hold out to enable voters to come out and exercise their right to vote.
SK Merpati Jepang, located less than 500 metres from SK Rakyat Haji Bolhassan, was the polling centre for Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Raghad Taib, as well as Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani.
First-time voter Mohd Danial Harish Mahmud, 20, who has autism, was excited to cast his vote at the Dewan Serbaguna Kapsel Kampung Panglima Seman Lama as early as 7 am, although the polling centre only opened at 7.30 am.
Accompanied by his father, Mahmud Sabli, 58, Mohd Danial looked relaxed as he belted out the song 'Cinta Untuk Nabila' by Melissa, a '90s rock group, while waiting for his turn to vote, not realising he was queuing in the wrong line.
Mahmud said initially Mohd Danial was the first person to queue in the third channel which was reserved for first-time voters, but when the EC staff rechecked, his son was registered under the first channel which was reserved for the disabled.
“Therefore, we had to rush to channel one and Alhamdulillah, he also had time to vote,” said Mahmud.
For former military personnel, Anis Salleh, 72, who has been visually impaired since the age of 28, he does not want to miss the opportunity to give up his responsibility as a voter and has never failed to vote since 1974.
“I never miss an opportunity (to vote). I do my responsibility for Malaysia,” he said.
Voters in Limbang and Baram, in the north of Sarawak, were confronted with the latest episode of flooding in the state with four polling stations reported to have been flooded.
However, the Sarawak police and Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) reported that the floods did not affect the voting process in the areas involved.