PUTRAJAYA, Dec 2 — The Federal Court today upheld the Election Court ruling nullifying Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s (pic) victory in the Kimanis parliamentary seat in the last general election, thus paving the way for a by-election in the constituency.
A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously dismissed Anifah’s appeal to set aside the Election Court ruling.
Justice Tengku Maimun said the Election Court judge had not erred in the findings of facts.
She said there were discrepancies in the conduct of the election process and widespread non-compliance of election laws, which had affected the outcome of the polls.
She ordered Anifah, to pay RM70,000 in cost to Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Datuk Karim Bujang.
The other judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court judges Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan.
The Election Court had, on August 16 this year, declared null and void Anifah’s win in the Kimanis seat in Sabah in the 14th General Election (GE14).
Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Datuk Karim Bujang filed the petition on June 18 last year to challenge the election result.
Anifah, who is a former foreign minister, had won the seat with a 156-vote majority, securing 11,942 votes against Karim’s 11,786 votes.
Another candidate, Jaafar Ismail of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, had obtained 1,300 votes.
At the onset of the appeal hearing, Anifah’s counsel Ansari Abdullah informed the court that he was instructed to apply for recusal of three judges from presiding on the bench namely, Justices Tengku Maimun, Wong and Nallini on grounds that they had presided on the panel which had heard an earlier appeal on the matter.
However, Justice Tengku Maimun dismissed Anifah’s application to recuse the judges from hearing his appeal.
On February 18, this year, the Federal Court five-man bench led by Wong, remitted Karim’s election petition back to the Election Court for trial after allowing his appeal to set aside the Election Court’s earlier decision to strike out his (Karim’s) petition.
On November 19, 2018, the Election Court judge Supang Lian had struck out Karim’s election petition.
The matter was then remitted back for trial before another Election Court Judge Lee Heng Chung who subsequently nullified the results for that constituency, ruling that the presence of additional ballot papers had influenced the results of the polls.
Anifah, who was wearing a black suit and red tie was present during the early part of the court proceedings but left before the verdict was delivered.
Karim was represented by lawyer Frederick Chang Tyn Chi while lawyers Muammar Julkarnain and Faizal Sarbi appeared for the Election Commission.