Sabah township set for by-election next month

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysia will next month hold its 10th by-election since its last general election, with the Election Commission (EC) announcing yesterday that the Kimanis polls in Sabah will be held on Jan 18.

EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said the commission had set Jan 4 as Nomination Day, meaning there will be a 14-day campaigning period.

The by-election will be the 10th since the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition ousted long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) from power in the May 2018 General Election.

PH lost in four of the nine previous by-elections, in a mix of parliamentary and state assembly seats, and won five.

In Kimanis, a total of 29,664 voters will be eligible to vote.

The parliamentary seat was declared vacant after the Federal Court on Dec 2 upheld a ruling by the Election Court to nullify the victory by BN's Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, a former foreign minister, in the general election.

A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously dismissed Mr Anifah's appeal to set aside the Election Court ruling.

The Federal Court found discrepancies in the conduct of the election process and widespread non-compliance with election laws, which had affected the outcome of the polls.

On Aug 16, the Election Court had declared null and void Mr Anifah's win in the seat after Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Karim Bujang filed a petition on June 18 last year to challenge the election result.

  • 29,664

  • Voters who will be eligible to vote in Kimanis, Sabah.


Mr Anifah had held Kimanis for four terms and had won by a razor-thin majority in a three-cornered fight by securing 11,942 votes against Datuk Karim's 11,768 votes. The third candidate, Mr Jaafar Ismail, of the now-defunct Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah garnered 1,300 votes.

Umno-led BN has said it plans to defend the seat.

Warisan, an ally of PH in the federal government, has said it is keen for a rematch, while PH's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has indicated it might also throw its hat into the ring.

PPBM is led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who opened the party's branches in Sabah despite being warned to stay out of the state by Warisan.



A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2019, with the headline 'Sabah township set for by-election next month'. Print Edition | Subscribe