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Chini by-election: Elderly voters wish to vote

PEKAN: Despite the fact that the threats of COVID-19 are still present in the country and that he is at highest risk of contracting the disease, a 97-year-old senior citizen still wants to discharge his responsibility as a good citizen to vote at the Chini state by-election on July 4.

Chik Ibrahim, from Felda Chini 2 near here, said if his health permits on the day, he will cast his vote at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Chini 2, together with his wife, Ramlah Abdullah, 85.

"As far as I remember, my wife and I have never missed casting our vote in every election as it is our responsibility as Malaysians," he said when met by Bernama at his home today.

Record from Election Commission (EC) stated that he is among the 32 voters over the age of 90 in Chini.

"My family was among the earliest settlers who arrived at Felda Chini 2 in 1980 to open this area. The environment at that time was harsh with very dense forest and many wildlife animals including different types of dears roaming around," he said, admitting that the current surrounding is much better with lots of public infrastructure and amenities.

Another elderly couple, Abdul Rahim Awang Kechik, 83, and Asmah Yaacob, 81, also expressed their intention to vote in the Chini by-election.

Abdul Rahim, who is also a settler in Felda Chini 2, said both of them will be casting their vote at the channel dedicated to senior citizens and will adhere to the standard operating procedure including wearing face masks and social distancing.

Last month, EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun was reported as saying that 14 polling centres comprising 66 channels will be made available for the Chini by-election with voters aged 60 and above will be allowed to cast the vote using a special channel, while persons with disabilities will be voting at channel one.

There are 20,990 registered voters for the Chini by-election with voters aged 40 and below forming the majority in the constituency, representing about 56 per cent.

The Chini state by-election on July 4 is a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional's Mohd Sharim Md Zain and two independent candidates Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49.

The by-election is being held following the death of incumbent Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun, 60, on May 7.

In the last general election, Abu Bakar won the seat with a 4,622-vote majority after receiving 10,027 votes to defeat PAS candidate Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim (5,405) and Mohamad Razali Ithnain of PKR (1,065).