28 April, 2007

Ijok latest. BN Won !

A total of 9,995 voters or 81.4 per cent of the registered voters in Ijok had cast their ballots when polling ended at 5pm.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidates, both non-voters in Ijok, were seen making their rounds of the polling stations in a last-ditch effort to woo support in the fiercely-fought by-election.

Several BN leaders were also seen at polling stations. They include MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Gerakan president-designate Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis.

Scenes of heated exchanges of words between supporters of Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) outside polling centres marked the voting process in the Ijok state by-election in Selangor Saturday.

Both camps could also be seen canvassing for votes at the entrances to the nine polling centres in Sungai Darah, Batang Berjuntai, Jaya Setia, Bukit Badong, Kampung Ijok, Pekan Ijok, Simpang Ijok, Tuan Mee, and Pekan Berjuntai Bestari Utara.

The tense situation in Ijok over the past week spilled over to polling day today with the situation turning chaotic at the Jaya Setia polling station, Bernama reports.

The day started quite well with an early morning shower bringing temperatures down but it failed to cool down the emotions of the supporters.

Supporters of both camps shouted slogans and traded insults from the time the stations were opened at 8am.

Opposition supporters at the Jaya Setia went a step further and made an attempt to block Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s motorcade near the polling station, marring the otherwise well-controlled situation.

Speaking at a press conference here later, Najib said the incident occurred as he was heading to the Jaya Setia polling station at about 11am as part of his visit to all the polling stations.

As the Barisan Nasional booth was located beside the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) booth, the motorcade had to pass the latter to get through.

A group of about 50 opposition supporters moved in front of the vehicle Najib was travelling in and blocked his way.

“We then turned to move around them through a lane nearby but they blocked that path too,” he said.

After about five minutes the police arrived at the scene and they too were aggressively shoved aside as they tried to get near the deputy prime minister’s car.

The police however managed to bring the situation under control and cleared the way for the motorcade to pass through.

A few punches were also traded between opposition and Barisan Nasional supporters as the latter group arrived to protect the DPM's motorcade.

No one was hurt in the incident although a police motorcycle was damaged.

After the visit, the deputy prime minister’s vehicle managed to leave the booth without problems but opposition supporters placed flower pots in the path of the rest of the motorcade and one of the supporters even sat on the hood of the first car.

The rowdy situation continued for about 10 minutes before the police once again intervened to allow the cars to leave.

The tension started growing as soon as the nine polling stations were opened at 8am and it was especially bad at the Bukit Badong, Tuan Mee and Jaya Setia polling stations.

“I visited all the polling stations and the situation was under control everywhere except the Jaya Setia station.

“It is a public road and it should be open for everyone including Barisan Nasional and PKR members to use without obstruction,” he said, adding that supporters should show respect for the democratic process and not cause any interference.

Najib said he was happy with the high spirits of the Barisan Nasional supporters and called on more voters to come and cast their votes in the afternoon.

He said the sentiment among the voters was pro-Barisan Nasional and he hoped it would translate into a win for the party.

Meanwhile, according to Malaysiakini, police have raided the office of Putra Post, a pro-Dr Mahathir Mohamad tabloid, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The raid followed a report lodged against the tabloid, which has been widely circulated in Ijok in the run-up to today’s by-election.

According to Mohamed Nawi,utra Post editor-in-chief, the police told him that the report alleged that Putra Post was operating without a permit from the Internal Security Ministry.

The police report also touched on an article concerning Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and other reports regarding Umno and the Ijok by-election.

Mohamed Nawi said among the writers of the articles were Raja Petra Kamarudin and former parliamentarian Ruhanie Ahmad.

The tabloid is published by Pancawarna Enterprise and printed by Kam Heng Printers in Sri Kembangan.

The article on Najib in Putra Post’s latest addition was penned by Ruhanie.

According to the article, the deputy premier is the target of a concerted and coordinated political conspiracy aimed at getting him out of Umno.

Among others, it stated: “As of today, it is an open secret that a group of individuals are working, openly or covertly to marginalise Najib through a cabinet reshuffle or the general election.”

The tabloid also carried reports that were critical of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaludin.

Yesterday (Friday), Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he was not worried by the return to politics of ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, who is campaigning in a critical by-election.

He also stood by his deputy Najib Razak, who is leading the campaign for the ruling coalition in the poll, and has faced allegations of links to the gruesome murder of a Mongolian model.

"I'm not worried," Abdullah told reporters, when asked about Anwar's return to the political stage.

"If people want him, he becomes popular, if people don't want him, he will not be popular. In politics that's what it is. I've been in politics a long time. I've faced him before," he said.

Najib has been at the centre of the fight, with opposition parties alleging links with the sensational murder of the Mongolian model last year.

The model's lover, prominent political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, has ties with Najib and is charged with abetting in the crime. Two police officers in an elite squad protecting Abdullah and Najib are accused of the murder.

However, Najib has vehemently denied knowing the woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, or any involvement in the case.

"Najib does not have any links to the allegations they have made. I am confident with Najib as a deputy prime minister," Abdullah said.

"Those are attacks that should not be made by the opposition parties. They are personal attacks to win votes," he said.

Latest Update (9:00 PM)

The Barisan Nasional (BN) retaining the semi-urban Ijok state seat with an increased majority of 1,850 votes in today's keenly-fought by-election.

BN's K. Parthiban polled 5,884 votes while Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) received 4,034 votes in the straight fight.

There were 134 spoilt votes.

Returning Officer Haris Kassim announced the results at 8.42pm.

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