Bukit Batok all set for by-election

Barricades and voting booths at the polling station at the void deck of Block 105A, Bukit Batok Central, yesterday, ahead of Polling Day today. Voters can cast their ballots from 8am to 8pm.
Barricades and voting booths at the polling station at the void deck of Block 105A, Bukit Batok Central, yesterday, ahead of Polling Day today. Voters can cast their ballots from 8am to 8pm.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Barricades and voting booths went up at nine polling stations in single-seat Bukit Batok yesterday, ahead of Polling Day today.

The buzz will start from 8am and, over 12 hours, as many as 25,727 eligible voters will head to these stations, sited at six HDB void decks, a pavilion and two secondary school canteens, to cast their ballots.

Their choice in this by-election is between People's Action Party (PAP) branch chairman Murali Pillai, 48, and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, 53.

Both have been on the campaign trail for nine days, seeking to win a seat made vacant by the resignation of PAP MP David Ong on March 12. He allegedly had an extramarital affair with a fellow party member.

In last September's General Election, Mr Ong had won 73 per cent of the votes. SDP candidate Sadasivam Veriyah got 26.4 per cent, and independent candidate Samir Salim Neji, 0.6 per cent.

Today, Singaporeans can expect an early indication of the result, shortly after polling closes at 8pm.

 
 
 

A sample count of the votes will be announced by the Elections Department (ELD).

In the 2015 General Election, Bukit Batok's sample count result was announced at 9.37pm, and the final result at around 1.20am.

The frenetic activity to woo voters ground to a halt yesterday as the two candidates spent time with their families and party members on Cooling-off Day.

But there were some violations.

The Media Development Authority filed a police report against news website The Middle Ground for publishing the results of an opinion survey on the by-election. The law forbids this until after voting ends.

The ELD also said there were several articles posted online yesterday on the by-election.

"These articles - intended to enhance the standing of, or promote electoral success for, a candidate or party - are tantamount to election advertising," it said in a statement.

The penalty for those convicted of flouting the rules is a maximum fine of $1,000, jail of up to 12 months, or both, it noted.

It added: "ELD reminds everyone not to post election advertising on any platform, online or offline, on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Bukit Batok all set for by-election'. Print Edition | Subscribe