Polling in the ninth Sarawak state election was completed Saturday, with all the 1,665 polling stations in 69 of the 71 constituencies closing at 5 pm.swk-96

These polling stations had been opened in stages from 8 am and closed in stages up to 5 pm.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said unofficial figures showed voter turnout to exceed 50 per cent for the whole state.

He said a number of polling stations had recorded a turnout of up to 80 per cent.

“We are awaiting the final figures from the interior areas,” he said at the State Election Commission office, here.

Abdul Rashid said voting went on smoothly throughout the day at all polling stations in the 69 constituencies.

Two seats, Dalat and Daro, were won unopposed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) on Nomination Day on May 9.

A total of 859,061 electors were eligible to vote in this election, in addition to the 14,642 voters who had cast postal ballots.

A total of 156 candidates from the BN and other political parties contested in the 69 constituencies. They included 20 independent candidates.

Abdul Rashid said the counting of votes had begun in the polling stations that had closed earlier in the day, some as early as 8.30 am. He said the votes would be tallied to derive the official results Saturday night.

The EC expects the first result to be known as early as 7 pm and the simple majority of 36 seats won to form the government to be reached at 10 pm.

Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Talib Jamal said police were providing security to ensure that the counting and tallying of votes would proceed smoothly.

He said police did not receive any report of disturbance or undesirable incidents in any of the 11 divisions in the state.