Nomination for the 11th Sarawak State Election starts today at 9am with contests expected for all 82 state seats.
Billed as the biggest state election in the history of Sarawak, candidates will file their nomination forms at 82 nomination centres located at government offices, multi-purpose halls, schools, colleges, libraries, government rest houses and indoor stadiums from 9am to 10am.
The election this year will witness voting for candidates for the 11 new constituencies that were created following a delineation exercise.
The new seats to be contested are Batu Kitang, Stakan, Serembu, Bukit Semuja, Gedong, Kabong, Tellian, Bukit Goram, Murum, Samalaju and Mulu.
The Election Commission (EC) had declared April 25 as nomination day and May 7 as the date for polling after the state assembly was dissolved on April 11 by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
According to the EC, there are 1.14 million registered voters who are eligible to vote, comprising 1.1 million normal voters and 25,022 early voters and 106 postal voters (overseas).
Early voting is fixed for May 3, while the actual voting process takes place on May 7. As of 5pm on Saturday, 971 sets of nominations forms were sold at various parts of the state, said EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.
Mohd Hashim said 443 were sold at the EC office here, 178 in the Sibu (zone), 172 sets in Miri (zone), 124 in Kuching (zone) and 54 sets in the Sri Aman (zone).
Mohd Hashim said when submitting the nomination forms, only three people – candidate, proposer and seconder – would be allowed into the nomination centre while supporters would be required to remain at least 50m away from the nomination centre.
In the previous state election held in 2011, Barisan Nasional (BN) won 55 of the 71 seats contested while DAP clinched 12 seats but later lost one seat when Pujut state assemblyman Fong Pau Teck was sacked from the party.
The PKR took three seats while one seat was won by an independent candidate. This time around, the polls will also serve as a barometer to gauge the opposition pact’s unity in the wake of DAP-PKR spat over seat allocations.
As of 8am today, there has yet to be a clear indication whether the issue has been resolved, with DAP forging to contest for 40 seats, including five that overlapped with PKR’s favourite list. The election will also see Pas and its splinter Parti Amanah Negara’s first official battle rivaling parties.
The two parties are expected to engage in a series of three-cornered fights with BN in 11 seats. Meanwhile, the Sarawak Meteorology Department has forecast cloudy skies and isolated rain in several coastal areas, namely Kuching, Samarahan, Betong, Mukah and Bintulu.
The department said temperatures will hover between 24 degree Celsius and a maximum of 35 degree Celsius throughout the state.