PORT DICKSON: In about 12 hours time, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pix) will find out his fate at the Port Dickson by-election, as voters began casting their ballots at 8am today.
While a win is all but confirmed for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate, a strong mandate is of equal inportance for the man who is set to succeed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the next prime minister.
This, however, will not come easy as he faces PAS' Lt Col (B) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar and independent Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad – his two strongest competitors – in a seven-horse race.
His other opponents are his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and three other independent candidates Stevie Chan, Lau Seck Yan and Kan Chee Yuen.
Polls will close at 5.30pm, with the result expected about four hours from then.
The constituency consists of over 75,000 voters, with some 7,000 of them having earlier cast their ballots on Tuesday in early voting.
The Port Dickson by-election was triggered after PKR's Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah vacated his seat to make way for Anwar to make his political comeback.
Danyal had won the seat in the 14th General Election with a majority of 17,710 (29% of the votes) before vacating it, and pressure now mounts for Anwar to emulate, if not better, this figure.
Port Dickson is made up of 43% Malay voters, 33% Chinese and 22% Indians.
Some 1,403 Election Commission (EC) officers will be stationed at the 32 polling centres today, with 800 police officers also on duty.
Mohd Isa, who is also former Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar, is the sole candidate who will be voting today and will cast his ballot at Sekolah Kebangsaan Linggi around 10am today.