Second noon Update: Former NST political editor says it's a "foregone conclusion".
First noon Update: As of 11 am, 17,911 voters have cast their votes in Permatang Pauh by-election. That's about 31 per cent turnout. PP has 58,459 registered voters.
70 police reports. Anwar Ibrahim, on his way back to Malaysian Parliament, cast his vote at Kubang Semang about 9 am. We missed that, caught in a two-hour jam (see Star pic) from Seberang Jaya, where his main opponent Arif Shah had cast his vote at 8 am. Syed Hamid describes Permatang Pauh (PP) by-election "the most violent in Malaysia's history" but we haven't seen any untoward incident. As we crawled in traffic, I saw BN and PR workers and supporters side by side , mile after mile, along the road, handing motorists caps, Anwar masks, and free copies of Utusan Malaysia. The heavy police presence, seen as a nuisance by some, gives a sense of greater security to others.
SMSes in the longest traffic jam. Teoh, a blogger friend from KL, sms-ed me around 10.30 this morning to know what's up.
Teoh: How's the mood on the ground? U think DSAI convinced Malays there he is 4 them? I think mee sodo tak laku.
Bru: Hey bro, caught up in the longest traffic jam in PP. DSAI will make it but his majority will be reduced .... Malay votes 50-50, very dependent on PAS' strength. How's KL?
Teoh: KL subdued. No action at all. Heat all @ PP 4 now. Ur 2 cents. DSAI 15k* n above? Or less?
Teoh: Will this deter frogs ...?
Bru: The frogs will still lompat. Q is if there are enough frogs. I doubt Sept 16 will happen but DSAI will be in Parliament.
Teoh: Thanks bro. C u in KL soon.
* Wan Azizah, Anwar's wife, won the PP seat by a majority of over 13,000 votes in March. Lower turnout of voters alone will rob DSAI of a similar margin. If you ask those in BN who are close to the action, they'd say their man was only about 5,000 votes behind Anwar as of last night.