8am – In Batu Sapi, traffic around Sandakan community hall, which is the nomination centre, is congested because one side of the main road has been closed.
Dozens of BN supporters carrying flags are gathering in front of the hall. The main rally point for BN is the Padang Besar Sandakan, about 500m from the nomination hall.
In Galas, the traffic is smooth. It is a sunny morning with a touch of mist. Hundreds of Pakatan Rakyat supporters have gathered in front the Tengku Faiz Petra mosque, which is few hundreds metres away from the nomination centre.
The procession will start with a solat hajat with top PAS leaders.
8.19am: In Galas, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang arrives at the Tengku Faiz Petra mosque. There are about 500 supporters performing zikir inside the mosque while waiting for top PAS leaders to arrived and perform the solat hajat.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people have gathered in the mosque compound.
8.20am: In Batu Sapi, traffic is gridlocked at the Sandakan field, where BN supporters are congregating before marching to nearby nomination centre at Sandakan Municipal Hall.
There are around 500 people assembled.
8.26am: In Batu Sapi, BN supporters begin their march to the nomination centre. A group of Puteri Umno members were at the front of the pack, singing patriotic songs as they marched. Most of the flags are BN flags, with a smattering of PBS flags around.
8.29am: In Galas, PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat arrives at the mosque and proceeds to perform prayer. The congregation is still performing zikir.
Meanwhile, most of the BN supporters are spotted wearing a scarf with a ‘kelate’ slogan on it “Ambo Nok Parti Ku Li”, which means “I Want Ku Li Party”.
8.40am: In Batu Sapi, Around 300 Pakatan supporters begin marching from their operation centre about 1km away from nomination center. They are shouting ‘reformasi’, singing party song and carrying PKR flags.
Leading the march are party candidate Ansari Abdullah in brown batik, while holding the hand of his wife. In the group are other Pakatan leaders including PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, party Women’s chief Fuziah Salleh, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali, DAP deputy president Tan Seng Giaw and DAP Sabah chief cum Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu..
8.30am: In Batu Sapi, around 70 SAPP supporters clad in the party colour of bright yellow bearing party flags are gathering about 300m away from nomination centre.
An organiser is briefing them how to carry flags, wave them, sing party song and advised the crowd not to be provoked by other parties supporters.
8.47am: In Galas, Umno supporters about 300 strong gathered on their end of the road, with candidate Abdul Aziz Yusof and campaign manager Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah among them.
But they cannot go into the nomination centre yet. It’s not yet 9am, say the police.
8.56am: With the end of hajat prayers, PAS supporters are making their way slowly to barricade. There are some DAP banners among PAS banners.
9am: NOMINATION CENTRES OPEN
9.01am: Nik Aziz appears to be overcomed with emotion when he led the doa after the prayers. The PAS crowd is expected to start procession to the nomination centre, located about 1km away.
While Pakatan supporters are shouting slogans such as “Hidup Rakyat”, the BN crowd is a bit quiet. Among those in the BN crowd are MCA deputy chief Liow Tiong Lai, Umno leaders
Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
In Batu Sapi, the nomination centre is officially open and the Election Commission officials are at hand to receive the nomination forms.
9.02am: The nomination centre in Batu Sapi is officially opened and the Election Commission officials are at hand to receive the nomination forms.
9.06am: PKR’s Ansari Abdullah is the first candidate to enter nomination centre to submit his nomination form. He was seen waving and smiling to photographers before proceeding to the nomination counter.
A minute later, SAPP leader Yong Teck Lee entered and submit his nomination form. He is in light brown yellowish party shirt.
9.10am: PBS-BN Linda Tsen submits her nomination form. She is dressed in a grey colour suit. All three key candidates shake hands.
9.11am: In Galas, the Pakatan crowd, numbering more than 1,000 start marching from the mosque, led by PAS candidate Dr Zulkefli Mohamad and party vice-president Mahfuz Omar, Husam Musa and other top Pakatan leaders.
They were greeted with shouts of takbir from supporters waiting by the roadside.
9.19am: In Galas, Pakatan supporters are stopped by a police barricade. The crowd is singing the ‘selawat’ and shouting takbir.
9.20am: BN candidate Abdul Aziz Yusof has submitted his nomination form for Galas by-election. Still waiting for the PAS candidate, Dr Zulkefli Mohamad.
9.22am: In Batu Sapi, all three candidates – Linda Tsen (BN-PBS), Ansari Abdullah (PKR) and Yong Teck Lee (SAPP) – have submitted their forms and are having their refreshment after they posing for photos requested by photographers.
In Galas, there is some tension at barricade as Zulkefli Mohamad tries to approach the nomination centre amidst the sea of supporters. The sheer number of PAS supporters is causing a human traffic jam. The PAS candidate is unable to reach the gate of the nomination centre, and police have to use loudhailers to ask the crowd to let Zulkefli pass through.
9.23am: Zulkefli Mohamad is finally able to get pass the police barricade. He is accompanied by Pakatan leaders Abdul Hadi Awang and Nasharudin Mat Isa, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.
9.30am: PAS candidate Zulkefli Mohamad enters the nomination hall.
9.39am: PAS supporters and leaders clamouring to get into the nomination hall, but the police only allow those with passes. Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad is among those who cannot get in.
9.44am: Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim came out from VIP area of the nomination centre and and give a short speech to the Pakatan crowd, exhorting them to campaign hard so that their candidate will win in the Nov 4 by-election.
9.48am: In Batu Sapi, the situation is subdued outside of nomination centre, with officials from all three contesting parties milling about and mingling with each other.
There is no sign of any independent candidates yet, with 12 minutes remaining before nomination closes at 10am.
10am: OBJECTION PERIOD BEGINS
In Batu Sapi, the Election Commission’s returning officer announces that the nomination period has come to a close.
Only three candidates have submitted their nomination.
Between 10am and 11am is objection time. The EC officials have pinned the nomination papers of the three contesting candidates – Linda Tsen (BN-PBS), Ansari Abdullah (PKR) and Yong Teck Lee (SAPP) – on a board so that others can filed objections, if any.
In Galas, the returning officer announces that only two candidates – Dr Zulkefli Mohamad (PAS) and Abdul Aziz Yusof (BN-Umno) have submitted their nomination forms.
10.10am: In Batu Sapi, supporters from all three parties get into the campaign mood, trading barbs as an early sign of the contest to come.
Pakatan supporters look the most animated, keeping up the chants “Batu Sapi, kita tawan” and “Reformasi”, drowning out the chants from the BN side, who are mostly lead by Puteri Umno members.
SAPP’s supporters appear more reserved, standing in tight phalanx-like formation, cheering sporadically like a military unit.
10.14am: In Galas, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad makes a short speech to the takbir-shouting PAS crowd, while a relaxed BN side is subdued by the sound of gendang drums.
Making political speeches and the playing of musicals instruments are prohibited during the nomination period.
The police asked Khalid to stop speaking as campaigning is yet to be allowed. He agreed to end his speech. But the drums from the BN side continue to beat.
10.31am: A GOF (general operations force) commander in full army uniform inspects both the PAS and Umno barricades.
He was greeted with cheers from PAS crowd, shouting “Datuk jadi calon!” and ” Baju dah hijau tu” to the collective laughter of the supporters and assembled police.
The situation simmered down as the heat from the sun begin to sap the energy of the supporters. PAS supporters quieted down and the drums serenading the BN side stopped.
The 180m buffer zone between two sides helped to calm things down as supporters, stewing in sweat, are denied the opportunity to provoke each other.
10.40am: In Batu Sapi, there is a slight commotion at the Pakatan side, with BN supporters assembled behind the barricade taunting Pakatan supporters.
Police quickly intervened, pushing the BN supporters and barricade back to increase the distance between the two camps.
At least 15 police officers are on standby at the barricade to keep the situation in check.
10.54am: The stand-off continues in Batu Sapi with Pakatan members protesting against BN supporters who climbed on the barricades, egged on by BN Youth members from the other side of the barricade.
This prompted PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin to tell the BN supporters to back off, using a loudhailer to shout “Undur Barisan”.
A team of police officer remain in-between the two barricades to keep the situation calm.
10.58am: The police ordered Shamsul to stop using the loudhailer, telling him that they do not want any untoward incident.
Shamsul argues some BN supporters are standing too close to the PKR crowd and he wants them to back off. The argument between Shamsul and the police continues for about five minutes and Shamsul eventually relented.
10.55am: In Galas, Kelantan state exco Husam Musa walks out of the VIP area and begins addressing the crowd through a loudspeaker.
OCPD Saiful Bahri came forward to tell the PAS leader to stop making speeches and this was promptly accepted by the PAS supporters.
“The PAS crowd is very cooperative. When they start making speeches, they will stop after I told them to,” says Saiful. “Their candidate has promised to follow police instructions.”
According to the police, there are 300 to 400 Umno supporters and about 5,000 PAS supporters today.
11am: OBJECTION PERIOD ENDS
11.15am: In Batu Sapi, returning officer Mohd Hamsan announces that Linda Tsen (BN-PBS), Ansari Abdullah (PKR) and Yong Teck Lee (SAPP) are all confirmed as candidates. No objection recorded.
11.32am: In Galas, returning officer Wan Mustapha Wan Ab Hamid announces that the Nov 4 by-election for the state seat will be a straight fight between Dr Zulkefli Mohamad (PAS) and Abdul Aziz Yusof (BN-Umno).
One objection was received but it was rejected by the returning officer.
11.35am: In Batu Sapi, Umno deputy president and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin dismisses PKR candidate Ansari Abdullah as a “recycled candidate” who was previously rejected by voters. However, he will let the voters decide on who shall represent Batu Sapi.
When asked if Batu Sapi by-election can be taken as a bellwether for the coming general election, he says:
“I don’t think that far. For now, we deal with the situation at hand.”
He adds that BN considers all elections – be it a by-election or general election – as equally important.
On three-cornered fight, Muhyiddin refuses to speculate on whether it will benefit BN.
“No matter what, we will face it.”
11.40am: SAPP candidate Yong Teck Lee meets his supporters outside the nomination centre and declares that the by-election is “the beginning of freedom for Sabah”.
He leads the supporters in cheering on the party and waving the party flag.
Yong was the first to leave the nomination centre, followed shortly by BN candidate Linda Tsen and finally PKR’s Ansari Abdullah.