PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today upheld the decision of the election court that declared the Kimanis parliamentary constituency election, which was won by former foreign minister Anifah Aman, null and void.
A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said there was no error by the election judge in the finding of facts.
“There were numerous discrepancies in the conduct and widespread non-compliance of the election laws,” she said of the unanimous ruling.
She said this had affected the outcome of the polls.
Anifah, a former Umno member, won the Kimanis seat by a slender margin of 156 votes, obtaining 11,942 votes, while Karim Bujang, who represented Warisan, garnered 11,786 votes.
The bench also ordered Anifah to pay the respondent Karim RM70,000 in costs.
Also on the bench were Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah, and Federal Court judges Rohana Yusuf and Nallini Pathmananathan.
Anifah, represented by Ansari Abdullah, was present during the initial proceedings but left before the verdict was delivered.
Karim, represented by Frederick Chang and Wilson Lai, was not present in court.
Ansari said he had instructions from his client to request that Tengku Maimun, Wong and Nallini be disqualified on grounds that they were part of an earlier bench which allowed Karim’s appeal for the merit of his election petition to be heard.
However, this was unanimously dismissed.
The case had had a long history, with the first election judge Supang Lian striking out Karim’s challenge on Nov 20 last year, saying he had failed to comply with the Election Petition Rules on several issues.
This included the failure to state in the petition the dates of both the advanced polling and the actual election.
However, on Feb 18 this year, a five-member bench chaired by Wong reinstated the petition and ordered that a trial be held as contentious issues had been raised.
On Aug 16, new election judge Lee Heng Chung declared the Kimanis parliamentary seat vacant as 284 additional ballots were improperly cast in one voting centre while 57 additional ballots were found to have been improperly added in another voting centre.
Lee ruled that the additional ballots had affected the result of the election, and that the Election Commission had breached Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act, thereby allowing a by-election to be called for the parliamentary seat.