Anifah says talk of contesting under opposition banner premature

Anifah Aman has poured cold water over a suggestion that he is recontesting the Kimanis parliamentary seat on a Parti Bersatu Sabah ticket.

KOTA KINABALU: Former foreign minister Anifah Aman has distanced himself from talk that he could be recontesting the Kimanis parliamentary seat under one of Sabah’s opposition parties.

Rumours have been circulating that Anifah, whose election in the seat was declared null and void by the Federal Court on Monday, may recontest the seat on a Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) ticket.

Anifah had won the seat as an Umno candidate in the last general election but later quit the party to become an independent.

Pouring cold water over the claims, he said he has yet to decide on whether to stand in a by-election and that he is still “discussing with the people”.

Asked about talk that he will contest under the PBS banner, he said: “I have not got to that stage yet. In fact, the Election Commission has not even announced the by-election date. I will let you know when the time comes.”

PBS president Maximus Ongkili also dismissed it as “just rumours”.

“There have been no formal discussions yet and we are still consulting our branch leaders in Kimanis. Also, we have yet to be informed of Anifah’s plans,” he said.

Asked if PBS would skip the by-election to allow Umno a one-on-one fight against Warisan, the Kota Marudu MP said: “We don’t owe anyone any favour.”

Umno did not contest the Sandakan by-election in May but campaigned for the PBS candidate.

Ongkili said, however, that if PBS does not contest, it will support any party that fights for Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

In GE14, Anifah won the seat with a 156-vote majority in a three-cornered fight, securing 11,942 votes against Warisan’s Karim Bujang, who gained 11,786 votes, and Parti Harapan’s Jaafar Ismail, who garnered 1,300 votes.

Karim filed a petition in the election court alleging misconduct on the part of EC in handling Forms 13 and 14 that affected some 341 ballots, which eventually led to the Federal Court decision.