Nomination Day

N.26 Bukit Begunan Nomination Day

It was a bright and lovely morning for nomination day. I believe this is also the same with my other 71 Returning Officers around Sarawak. The preparations done over the night before for the N.26 Nomination Centre were in place. The security seal for the Nomination Venue was intact. The Resident Office Sri Aman is alive with activity as staffs report for work, police personnels were around to ensure law and order. The candidates, political parties and their supporters assembled somewhere around the town area, ready for some procession. It was akin to some parade which is why sometimes nomination day is akin to a festival of some sort. As an avid photographer I would have loved to run around town and get snapshots of the various nomination centres around town to record this historic occassion. The Nomination Centre for N.23 Lingga was at the Dewan Suarah Sri Aman and for N.27 Simanggang was at the Sri aman District Council Library - just 10 minutes away from one another. However duty as the Returning Officer for N.26 Bukit Begunan refrained me from doing so. Even the way I would be blogging about the event would be a bit controlled as there are certain information that we are allowed to share. Thus it would be appropriate if I just post the various photos and chronology of the important day for this posting.

Time: 8:00 a.m - 9:00 a.m

The early morning is marked by the arrival of the candidates and their party members. Its akin to a minor procession with which the political parties have already arranged with the Police. As there were three nomination centres nearby one another this morning the Police are coordinating the flow of the procession.

The tents and chairs are in place before the arrival of the candidates and their supporters

The situation at the Panorama Benak in front of the Resident Office as one party assembled earlier

Getting my security team ready which is headed by ASP Albert and Traffic Chief Tuan Ajin

Police directing traffic in front of the Resident Office

The Sarawak National Party candidate Encik Ivanhoe Anthony Belon arrived first with his supporters

The candidate for N.23 Lingga Puan Hajjah Simoi Peri procession passed by our centre as it was along the way to her nomination centre at the Dewan Suarah

The Barisan Nasional Candidate Encik Mong Dagang, the N.26 Bukit Begunan incumbent arrived at the nomination centre

Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate Encik Jimmy Lim @ Jimmy Donald arrived at the nomination centre with his supporters

The situation in front of the nomination centre

Inside the nomination centre a small number of supporters were allowed inside to accompany the candidate

9:00 a.m - 10:00 a.m

At 9:00 a.m the Returning Officer is required to make an announcement that the nomination centre is open and the candidates can proceed to submit their nomination forms. Only the candidate, proposer and seconder are allowed to enter the Nomination centre premises.

Encik Ivanhoe Anthony Belon proceeding to the nomination centre with his proposer and seconder

The Returning Officer and his team of Assistant Returning Officer and staff processing the candidate's forms as they are submitted. This process is made easier as some of the candidates has already got us to check their forms a day before

Processing the submission of Encik Mong Dagang and Encik Jimmy Lim @ Jimmy Donald

Those who have completed their submissions waiting for the others to be completed

at some point during the submission if clarifications are required we would call the candidates to make the necessary rectifications in consultation with the Election Commission staff who are there to assist us

The situation in the Nomination Centre was warm and friendly

One way or another the candidates know one another very well and are sometimes related to one another  so there was a lot of handshaking between the candidates

10:00 a.m - 11:00 a.m

After the nomination process is complete, the candidates' nomination forms will be exhibited for all to see in front of the nomination centre between 10:00 a.m and 11:00 a.m. There the supporters and voters for N.26 Bukit Begunan will be allowed to see the information regarding the candidates. If there are any objections regarding the information about the candidates it has to be submitted within this period.

The Returning Officer is required to announce the nomination papers submission is over and that the Objection Period or Tempoh Bantahan will begin with the putting up of nomination forms outside the centre for all to view

Nomination forms in front of the centre are placed on notice boards to allow for viewing

Nomination forms outside the centre being viewed by the supporters and public

For N.26 Bukit Begunan there was no objection recieved and thus the Returning Officer proceed to get the candidates to pick at random on how there names and party will appear in the ballot papers. Once everyone is in agreement to the arrangement the final announcement will be made.

11:15 a.m

Announce by Returing Officer for N.26 Bukit Begunan on the final candidate's list for N.26 Bukit begunan in the 10th State Election

As there were no objections the nomination papers the nomination process for N.26 Bukit Begunan proceeded without any hiccups. The announcement of the candidates' names was made at 11:15 a.m whereby it will be a four corner contest between the incumbent for Barisan Nasional Encik Mong Dagang, Encik Jimmy Lim @ Jimmy Donald of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Encik Ivanhoe Anthony Belon of Sarawak National Party and Encik Lias Anak Julai who will stand as an independent as his organisation known as Pertubuhan Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak (PERS) is still awaiting approval for registration. In summary, I have to share the experience as related to me by the Election Commission's Deputy Director from Malacca that the process in N.26 Bukit Begunan Centre was smooth sailing and the candidates in the running have shown gentlemanly conduct. It was a stark contrast to their experience in West Malaysia they mentioned as things there can get pretty robust and physical sometimes. It is a situation which I hope will prevail and sustained throughout the next few days of campaigning. We have an elections enforcement team going around to make sure that the ethics of campaigning as outlined by the Elections Commission are adhered to. As I have reminded the candidates and my team, in this peaceful democratic process, though it seems tedious and bogged with procedures, everyone emerges as winners. Happy Campaigning and Voting.