Aug 26, 2008

Permatang Pauh By-Election Result

9.50pm: Final official EC tally - Anwar got 31,195 votes, Arif Shah, 15,524, Hanafi, 92. Anwar won with a majority of 15,671.

Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,388 majority at the March 8 general elections.

9.25pm: Official EC results: With final five ballot boxes to go, Anwar has bagged 29,526 votes, Arif Shah (14,444) and Hanafi (89). Majority so far: 15,082.

9.12pm: Official EC results: With 11 more boxes to go, Anwar has won the by-election with a 14,551 majority. He garnered 27,977 votes while BN's Arif Shah obtained 13,426 while Akim's Hanafi Hamat got 85.

Malaysian govt concedes by-election defeat to Anwar
PERMATANG PAUH, Malaysia - Malaysia's ruling coalition on Tuesday conceded defeat in a by-election against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who will return to parliament after a decade-long absence.

"Yes of course we have lost... we were the underdogs going into this race," said Muhammad Muhammad Taib, information chief of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) which leads the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Anwar's Keadilan party, which leads a three-member opposition alliance, claimed a "landslide" victory. It said Anwar had garnered at least 65 per cent of the ballot and that the figure could rise as high as 70 per cent.

"We declare victory, the margin is very huge," said Keadilan information chief Tian Chua.

Muhammad said UMNO had been hampered by internal disagreement over the choice of its candidate in the by-election, Arif Shah Omah Shah, and was distracted by upcoming internal leadership polls.

"There are factors that we have to be practical about but this does not mean that he is enjoying full support elsewhere in the country," he told AFP.

"He is the winner here because this is his hometown and the timing of the elections is to his advantage because UMNO's party polls will be held in a month."

Muhammad also dismissed talk that the victory would help Anwar oust the government with the help of defecting lawmakers, after landmark March general elections that handed the opposition unprecedented gains.

"I don't think so. In the last general election the people gave the Barisan Nasional the mandate to rule, so if the opposition wants to form a government they will have to wait for the next general election."

8.32 pm Unofficial PKR alert - Anwar wins with a majority of 17,652, obtaining 31,949 votes. BN's Arif Shah garnered 14,297 while Akim's Hanafi Hamat got 74. Hanafi to lose his RM15,000 deposit.

Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,400 majority in the March 8 general election.

Anwar's party claims by-election win
PERMATANG PAUH, Penang - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's party claimed he has won a seat in parliament in a by-election here on Tuesday.

"We won already. We are far ahead," Keadilan party spokeswoman Ginie Lim said. Anwar is scheduled to address a press conference at 1230GMT, she said.

Official results are expected to be released by about 1400 GMT.

The opposition and the government blamed each other for the low turnout, which Election Commission secretary Kamaruzzaman Mohamad Nor said stood at 65.25 per cent, significantly lower than the last election in March.

Anwar said that although the opposition-controlled state government of Penang had declared a public holiday to boost turnout, many workers were not given time off to cast their ballots.

"Most of the core supporters of Keadilan are factory workers. My concern is the turnout and it's too low for comfort," he told AFP.

Deputy premier Najib Razak said the opposition had prevented people from voting, accusing it of causing huge traffic jams by bringing in many supporters from outside the electorate.

Anwar has been widely tipped to win the vote in Permatang Pauh, an electorate in his home state of Penang which he held until he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges.

But political pundits said they will focus on the size of the winning margin, compared to that attained by Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who held the seat during his political exile.

8pm Unofficial: Anwar Ibrahim is the winner, obtaining a majority of 16,210 votes. He garnered 26,646 votes while Arif Shah Arif Omar got 10,436. His wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,400 majority in the March 8 general election.

7.59pm Unofficial latest count, Anwar has obtained 16,101 votes as opposed to Arif Shah's 6,071.

7.43pm The EC starts to announce official results as per the ballot boxes it has counted. As it stands, Anwar is leading by 3,507 votes (or 48.11 percent).

The breakdown is as follows: Akim's Hanafi Hamat (nine votes), Anwar (5,398 votes) and Arif Shah (1,891).

So far 20 ballot boxes of a total of 111 have been opened and counted. Anwar had won in ALL these 20 boxes. In one particular box, he had obtained 441 votes compared to Arif's 14.

7.25pm: There are signs of significant swing to PKR despite the lower turnout. In the state constituency of Penanti, which PKR won at the March 8 general elections, the party has bagged the sole polling station, Telok Wang, it failed to win five months ago.

March 8 result: BN - 261 votes, PKR - 227
Aug 26 result: BN - 232 votes, PKR - 260

Anwar is also making gains in the state constitutency of Seberang Jaya, where PKR had lost to BN candidate Arif on March 8.

7.25pm: Anwar's press conference at 9pm is believed to declare his victory. The press conference was rescheduled to 9pm from its original time of 7.45pm.

7.20pm: Unofficial results so far: Anwar 5,855; Arif Shah 1,910

7.13pm PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is to hold a press conference at his by-election headquarters at Yayasan Aman at 7.45pm. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will also be holding a press conference at about 9pm.

6.55pm: Counting in all 25 polling stations is now underway. From inside sources, Anwar is leading in all voting streams. Votes are being counted simultaneously in all the polling stations with the results to be sent to the main counting centre for the final tally.

According to EC secretary Kamaruzaman, 38,144 voters went to the ballot box today with turnout being 65.25 percent. This is much lower than the 82 percent turnout at the March 8 general elections

6.30pm: Thousands of supporters, almost all from PKR, have gathered at the main counting centre. A police helicopter was hovering above the centre. Numerous police roadblocks were also mounted along the roads leading to the centre - this despite the police blocking the main access to this place.

About 30 police and FRU trucks were also seen in the vicinity, along with hundreds of police personnel

6.05pm: According to EC secretary Kamaruzaman, voter turnout was at 63.7 percent at 4pm. Final voter turnout yet to be released but expected to be lower than the 82 percent at the March 8 general elections.

5.53pm: The police have blocked the main road to the Tuanku Bainun counting centre where the announcement will be made later tonight. Even journalists with EC tags are not allowed to pass through. The move is seen as an attempt to deter people from gathering at the centre.

5.26pm: BN candidate Arif Shah is still confident of taking the seat.

5.11pm: PKR top leaders are confident that Anwar would win the seat as their exit polls show that he is leading by 18,000 votes.

5.10pm: EC officials will start counting votes polled at the respective polling centres by 6.30pm. The final count from all 25 polling centres will then be brought to the Institut Perguruan Tuanku Bainun for the official result to be announced.

5pm: Polling ends for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

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