PONTIAN: Although campaigning for the Tanjung Piai by-election officially ended at midnight last night, party workers from Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) are still going all out on the streets.
Supporters of PH and BN were stationed at all 27 polling centres, clad in their respective party T-shirts, while waving party flags and banners.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has cautioned political parties to ensure that their last-minute vote canvassers do not break election rules.
Party supporters are not allowed to be within 50m of polling centres and “active campaigning” is also not permitted, according to Azhar.
Asked on what he means by “active campaigning”, Azhar said that the definition is broad – but as long as canvassers continue to behave accordingly, the EC will not take any action against them.
As expected, there were wars of words between PH and BN supporters – most notably at Sekolah Kebangsaan Telok Kerang, where dozens of party workers from both sides started to ridicule each other.
While PH supporters shouted to passersby to vote for “candidate number four”, in reference to the number next to Karmaine Sardini’s name on the ballot papers, BN supporters employed a more underhanded approach by chanting “Arwah” multiple times.
This is in reference to Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s slip of the tongue during a ceramah last week, saying “Arwah Karmaine” by mistake. “Arwah” is a reference to someone who is deceased.
Gerakan and Berjasa supporters, however, were not seen campaigning in the same way.
Instead of chanting and waving party flags, Gerakan left boxes of free mineral water for passersby 50m from polling centres.
Gerakan candidate Wendy Subramaniam, when met by reporters at SJKC Yu Ming, said she is unhappy with BN supporters’ behaviour.
"I am quite sad that they (BN), (previously being the government) over 60 years, is still campaigning until now.
"Each polling station I went to, they are behaving like this. They are showing their party logo and the hand gesturing number two.
"If your candidate is so famous here, then why are you still using such tactics at this moment?” she said.
Most interesting for Tanjung Piai voters was seeing Berjasa supporters taking a different approach in their last-minute campaigning tactic.
At all 27 polling centres, several Berjasa supporters were seen reciting the Quran.
“All Berjasa members were advised to recite two juzuk (parts) from the Quran and pray for (candidate) Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz’s victory.
“We placed five to six party workers at each polling centre and they will take turns reciting the Quran.
“We think this is a better activity than (chanting) while waiting for the results to come out later,” Berjasa Women chief Azizah Che Awang told the media via WhatsApp.
Polling centres will be closed at 5.30pm and the result is expected to be announced at 8.30pm today, at the latest.
The contenders in the election are Karmaine Sardini (PH), Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng (BN), Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Berjasa) and two independents – Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghani.