Permatang Pauh by-election: Polling centres close, voter turnout of 73% lower than expected

The Permatang Pauh by-election candidates are (from left) independent Salleh Ishak, Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Azman Shah Othman, Barisan Nasional’s Suhaimi Sabudin and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during the nomination day at IKB
The Permatang Pauh by-election candidates are (from left) independent Salleh Ishak, Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Azman Shah Othman, Barisan Nasional’s Suhaimi Sabudin and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during the nomination day at IKBN Jalan Berapit in Penang on April 25, 2015. -- PHOTO: THE STAR 

BUKIT MERTAJAM (The Star/Asia News Network) - About 73 percent of 71,252 people registered to vote in the by-election of Penang's Permatang Pauh district cast their ballots on Thursday, lower than the 80 percent forecast by the Election Commission (EC).

As at the close of polls at 5pm, nine hours after voting centres opened, voter turnout was 73.71 percent, according to the EC.

The commission is expected to announce the result of the by-election at 9pm.

The by-election saw a four-cornered fight between the ruling Barian Nasional's (BN) Suhaimi Sabudin, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, president of the leading opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and wife of jailed opposition Anwar Ibrahim, Azman Shah Othman of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), and independent Salleh Ishak.

The seat fell vacant after former MP Anwar was sentenced to five years' jail for sodomy and lost his parliamentary seat.

Anwar had won the Permatang Pauh seat by a majority of 11,721 votes against a BN rival in the May 2013 general election.

Voter turnout for that poll was 88.5 percent.