BUKIT MERTAJAM (Aug 26 , 2008)
Voters turned out in force to cast their votes at 25 polling centres this morning after the Meteorological Department had forecast rain and thunderstorms for the evening.
Anwar accompanied by Wan Azizah casting his voteat Sk Sri Penanti.
A total of 110 streams at 25 polling centres opened at 8am today for the 58,459 people in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency to cast their votes in the by-election.
Twenty-five of the centres were located in secondary schools and the rest in primary schools and community halls.
The by-election is a three-corner fight among Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, 61, Barisan Nasional's (BN) Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, and Hanafi Mamat, 61, of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia.
The official results of the by-election is expected at about 10pm.
Arif Shah, accompanied by his wife, Datin Latifah Asmawi, and son, Izwan Shah, arrived at the polling station at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Jaya II in Lengkok Tenggiri at about 7.50am.
They walked there from their house nearby accompanied by several supporters.
Arif, dressed in a white shirt and wearing a black songkok, left the polling centre at about 8.20am after meeting some of the voters there.
Meanwhile, Anwar, in a blue shirt and songkok, and Dr Wan Azizah arrived at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Penanti at 9.40am to cast their votes and left 10 minutes later.
Hanafi, the third candidate, is not a registered voter in Permatang Pauh.
Deputy Prime Minsiter Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visited the polling stations at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seberang Jaya 2, Sekolah Menengah Penanti and Sekolah Kebangsaan Permatang Pasir.
The seat was vacated by PKR president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, who resigned on July 31 to make way for her husband, Anwar, to contest in the area.
Azizah beat the BN candidate, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail, with a 13,398-vote majority to win the seat in the March 8 general election.
Since the 1999 general election, PKR had controlled the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, a seat which Anwar won on a BN ticket in 1982.
Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said security was under control and the police air unit was monitoring the situation at the polling centres from the air.
Police had deployed 6,000 personal personnel to handle security and had advised those not involved in the polling not to crowd the area to avoid any untoward incident.
Traffic in the area was under control and vehicles bearing the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) logos were seen transporting the voters to the polling centres.
Penanti town was filled with vehicles ferrying the voters to the polling centres and about 600 BN and PKR supporters turned up at these places.
Hawkers plied their trade near the centres, selling food and drinks and even massage oil by the roadside.