KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The Federal Court today upheld the decision of the election court that the Kimanis parliamentary constituency results were null and void.
In doing so, the court has officially paved the way for a by-election in the federal constituency.
News portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that the five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said there was no error by the election judge in the decision and rendered the GE14 win by former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman as null and void.
“There were numerous discrepancies in the conduct and widespread non-compliance of the election laws,” she said, adding that it had affected the outcome of the polls.
In an immediate response, Anifah told Malay Mail that he was not surprised by the court’s ruling.
“I expected it,” he said when contacted.
“I’ve been an MP for 20 years. I’ve been a deputy federal minister and a foreign minister for nine years.
“My priority is Sabah rights. I don’t have to be an MP,” he said.
Anifah, who declined to answer when asked if he would be re-contesting the upcoming by election, said he would be keeping his options open but wanted to focus his efforts on the reinstatement of Sabah rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Anifah is the younger brother of former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and is currently party-less after leaving Umno in September 2018.
He held the Kimanis seat for 20 years, after winning it for the first time in 1999.
During GE14, he held on to the seat by a margin of 156 votes, or a total of 11,942 votes, over Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Karim Bujang. Parti Harapan’s Jaafar Ismail garnered 1,300 votes.
Earlier today, lawyer for the first respondent Datuk Karim Bujang, Syaiful Sufyyan Sidin, said the Federal Court decided to uphold the decision of the election judge in his finding that there were numerous instances of non-compliance of the election law, which ultimately, affected the Kimanis election result.
“It is a landmark decision and case, as this case went through the striking out application and the full merits of the case put forward by the petitioner before the Election Court and the Federal Court,” said Syaiful.
On August 16, the Election Court here declared the result null and void after agreeing with the election petitioner, Warisan candidate Karim that there was misconduct on the part of the EC in handling Forms 13 and 14 that affected some 341 ballots.
The judge ruled out any foul play or corrupt practice on Anifah’s part but said that the EC was non-compliant, an action that was deemed to have had a bearing on the election results.