KUALA LUMPUR: The future of six states, namely Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, lies in the hands of 9.67 million electors as they head to the polls on Saturday (Aug 12).
In Terengganu, ballots will not be cast just for the state seats, but also for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat as the by-election is being held simultaneously with the six state elections.
It will definitely be a long anxious wait, from the moment the polling centres are open at 8am until the full results are announced for each state, with the earliest expected to be known about two hours after the polling centres close at 6pm.
Overall, a total of 17,048 voting streams have been made available at 3,190 polling centres in all 245 state constituencies in the six states, while for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, 217 voting streams are available at 41 polling centres.
Last Tuesday, 72,554 military and police personnel, including the General Defence Force (PGA), and their spouses fulfilled their civic duties as early voters in the six state elections, while another 1,286 voted for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
The question that lingers now is whether the status quo will remain with Pakatan Harapan (PH) retaining power in Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, while PAS continue to rule Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
Or, will there be a drastic change in the six states after 14 days of relentless campaign undertaken by each contesting party?
The campaign period which began after the nomination on July 29 will end at midnight tonight.
According to the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Hussain, police have received 1,524 reports relating to the six state elections between July 29 and Aug 8.
Of the total, he said 103 investigation papers were opened and four arrests were made over offences committed during the campaign.
It is the first time in Malaysian history that the six states are holding their state elections separately from the general election after they decided not to dissolve their respective state assemblies following the dissolution of Parliament on Oct 10 last year.
The 15th General Election (GE15) to elect new Members of Parliament was held simultaneously only with the state elections of Perak, Pahang and Perlis on Nov 19, 2022.
Melaka, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, on the other hand, had already held their respective state elections long before the GE15.
The 45-seat State Assembly of Kelantan was dissolved on June 22, followed by the 56-seat State Assembly of Selangor on June 23.
The 40-seat Penang State Assembly, 36-seat Kedah State Assembly and 32-seat Terengganu State Assembly were dissolved simultaneously on June 28, leaving the 36-seat Negri Sembilan State Assembly as the last to be dissolved after completing its full five-year term on July 1.
The six state polls are also the first battlefield that sees the cooperation of Pakatan (comprising PKR, DAP and Amanah) and Barisan Nasional (BN) to face the challenges from Perikatan Nasional (PN) which comprises Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan. – Bernama