BEAUFORT, SABAH - Umno on Saturday (Jan 18) retained its parliamentary seat in a closely watched by-election in Kimanis, Sabah, defeating a candidate from Parti Warisan Sabah - an ally of Malaysia's ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan.
Umno's candidate, Datuk Mohamad Alamin, who contested under the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition ticket, received 12,706 votes, against 10,677 polled by Warisan's Datuk Karim Bujang, in a direct one-on-one fight, the official result showed.
The Kimanis seat is a stronghold of Umno-BN and was last held by former foreign minister Anifah Aman, who won the seat by a narrow 156-vote margin in the May 2018 general election in a three-cornered fight.
This Sabah federal seat was declared vacant after the Federal Court on Dec 2 upheld the Election Court's ruling nullifying Datuk Anifah's victory in the 2018 elections due to irregularities.
Mr Anifah had won the seat by securing 11,942 votes against Mr Karim's 11,786 votes, while another candidate, Mr Jaafar Ismail of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, obtained 1,300 votes.
Kimanis was the 10th by-election held since the May 2018 general election, a mix of state-assembly and parliament seats, with Pakatan winning five and BN now winning five too with the Kimanis victory.
Last year (2019), BN won four of the five by-elections while PH only won one seat in Sandakan, Sabah in a Chinese-majority seat.
There are 29,664 eligible voters in Kimanis, with an estimated 80 per cent voter turnout in Saturday's by-election.
A top PH leader Anwar Ibrahim, in first reaction to the defeat, said: "We have received the results and we accept the decision. Congratulations to the winning candidate and we will continue to serve."
Met by reporters at a function in his Negeri Sembilan ward of Port Dickson, Datuk Seri Anwar said, as quoted by Malayskini news site: "I believe in Sabah, under the leadership of Shafie Apdal and Warisan as well as Pakatan Harapan (at the federal level), we will step up our efforts.
"It is clear that many of the problems faced by the people are economic problems."