EC waiting for court notification on Kimanis seat to set polls dates

Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (second from right) in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: The Election Commission says it has yet to receive an official notification from the Federal Court on its decision to uphold the decision of the election court which declared the Kimanis parliamentary constituency election null and void.

EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said the court had 14 days in which to issue the notification to them.

“We are waiting for the notification. When we get it, we have 10 days to hold a meeting and set the important dates for the Kimanis by-election.

“We must have a by-election within 60 days after receiving the notification from the court,” he said after an engagement session with Sabah political parties and NGOs here today.

The Kimanis seat was vacated after the Federal Court yesterday decided to uphold the Aug 16 decision of the election court to declare the victory by its incumbent, Anifah Aman, in the 14th general election 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.

The election court agreed with the petitioner, Warisan’s Karim Bujang, that there was misconduct on the part of the EC in handling Forms 13 and 14 that affected 341 ballots.

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

The seat had traditionally been held by the Barisan Nasional. Anifah had held the seat for three terms since 2004 until yesterday’s court decision nullifying his win for the 2018 general election.

The Kimanis by-election will be the 10th after last year’s general election.

Meanwhile, Azhar hoped the Kimanis by-election would run as smoothly as the Sandakan by-election last May 11.

He praised the supporters of political parties in Sandakan for their good behaviour during the duration of the campaigning period.

“The Sandakan by-election is by far the best under my watch (as EC chairman).

“I’m not saying the by-elections in the peninsula were not good but in Sandakan it was better. I’m proud of the voters’ maturity in Sandakan,” he said.