KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno has identified at least three potential candidates in the event a by-election is called for the Kimanis parliamentary seat.
Its chief Bung Moktar Radin said they will announce the candidate within a week of a by-election being called, following the decision of an Election Court on Friday to declare Anifah Aman’s victory in the 14th general election null and void.
“We will finalise the name after getting feedback from the people. There have been two to three names identified and they are all from Kimanis.
“Although we are not sure if there will be a by-election, we are ready for one,” he told FMT.
Bung said the decision to defend the seat was made at an Umno political bureau meeting last night.
He said he had instructed the Kimanis Umno division, including its women, youth and puteri wings, to activate its election machinery at all the 19 polling districts in the constituency.
“We have also activated the 25 Umno divisions statewide to start working in case there is a by-election. This is our seat and we will go all-out to win it back,” he said.
The Kinabatangan MP hoped that the other opposition parties – Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) – would reciprocate the help Umno rendered in the Sandakan by-election.
Election Court judge Lee Heng Chung, in disqualifying former foreign minister Anifah as the MP, ruled that 284 additional ballots were improperly cast at one voting centre while 57 additional ballots were found at another centre.
The additional ballots were ruled to have affected the result of the election.
As such, Lee said, the Election Commission was found to be in breach of Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act and a by-election could be called for Kimanis.
Anifah’s counsel Tengku Fuad Ahmad told FMT they would appeal to the Federal Court.
In GE14, Anifah won the seat by 156 votes, obtaining 11,942 votes against 11,786 garnered by Warisan candidate Karim Bujang.
Karim, who challenged the results, had claimed that there were elements of manipulation by the Barisan Nasional camp and that the ballot papers were counted at least four times.