KUCHING: The state Election Commission will submit the budget for the Balingian by-election for approval on March 6.
As the state EC has been on standby since Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud announced his retirement on February 12, it has done most of the ground work for the by-election.
While waiting for the appointment of the returning officer which state EC director Datu Takun Sunggah said would be done in the next one or two days, the commission is looking into logistic details and preparing for the training of election officials and workers.
“We don’t foresee any major problems popping up in this by-election. The training of the election officials and workers will be carried out the next day after the nomination day.
“Logistics wise, it is also easy to handle because the constituency is accessible by road. There will be no need to budget for the use of helicopter. For boat, we might budget for one or two, the rest will be land vehicles,” said Takun.
He said like the 2013 general election, indelible ink would be used for the Balingian by-election and the electoral roll, it will also be finalised on March 6 meeting.
Meanwhile, EC secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh issued a statement pointing out that the EC would convene a special meeting on March 6 to discuss the Balingian state seat which is vacated by outgoing Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud effective today.
The meeting which will be held at EC headquarters in Putrajaya at 10 am will be chaired by EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof. A press conference will be held after the meeting.
Abdul Ghani said EC was notified officially on Wednesday by State Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasar that Taib would be vacating the seat today.
According to the 2011 state election electoral roll, Balingian constituency has a total 11,792 voters.
Out of the total 69 percent or 8093 voters are Malay and Melanau, there are 2,188 Iban voters making up 19 percent while 12 percent or 1,510 are Chinese voters.
In 2011 state election, Taib won with a majority of 5,154 votes, defeating independent candidate Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin who garnered 1,056 votes and PKR’s Suriati Abdullah who polled 871 votes. - theborneopost