Court rules foul play in Kimanis GE14 results, by-election possible

The Kimanis parliamentary constituency was won by Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in GE14. — Reuters pic
The Kimanis parliamentary constituency was won by Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in GE14. — Reuters pic

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 16 — The Election Court has declared the results of last year’s 14th general election null and void in the Kimanis parliamentary constituency won by Datuk Seri Anifah Aman. 

In his ruling, Judge Lee Heng Chung found 284 additional ballots had been improperly cast, affecting the election result.

The ruling means a by-election could be called for Kimanis.

However, incumbent MP Anifah indicated to his counsel Tengku Fuad Ahmad that he wants to appeal the decision with the Federal Court.

Warisan candidate Datuk Karim Bujang filed his election petition to challenge the result in Kimanis in GE14, on June 18 last year at the High Court here.

In today’s court session, judge Lee ruled that there was misconduct by the returning officer (RO) and the EC in the process of submitting the ballots and correct forms that resulted in a void.

“Kg Brunei (Saluran 1) found to have 284 additional ballots improperly cast while in SJK Cheng Meng, 57 additional ballots found to be improperly added,” said counsel for Karim, Syaiful Sufyyan Sidin.

“Meanwhile, the judge ruled failure of the RO to refer to Form 13 to amend Form 14 is a non-compliance of the election rules. Furthermore, in SK Mandahan and Bambangan, there was empty Form 13, meaning no document can be used to verify how many ballot papers were issued. So it boils down to fairness and non-compliance.

“Furthermore, when the RO saw Form 14 was erroneous, he did not verify it and the amendment was done unilaterally. This is in serious breach of election law,” said Syaiful.

However, the court dismissed the case of bribery and corruption by Anifah, with costs of RM105,000 awarded to him.

“So now the question is whether Anifah has the locus standi to appeal, given that the results of the hearing are not against him,” said Syaiful.

Fuad said that he had already received instructions to lodge an appeal with the Federal Court as the finding against the returning officers and the Election Commission effected Anifah.

“We will argue on the grounds that the judge has made a number of reversable errors in his findings, especially since we don’t know whether the additional votes were in favour of Anifah or Karim Bujang. To satisfy Section 32(b), you must show that Karim would have won but for the additional votes. We will take this further on appeal,” he said.

Anifah won the Kimanis constituency with a 156-vote majority in a three-cornered fight, securing 11,942 votes against Karim and Parti Harapan’s Jaafar Ismail, who garnered 11,786 votes and 1,300 votes respectively.

In October last year, the Election Court threw out the case but the Federal Court then overturned the decision and remitted it back to the former for trial in February.

The trial started in April earlier this year.

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