KOTA KINABALU: The Election Commission (EC) will not be appealing against the decision of the Election Court to nullify the Kimanis election, says its chairman Azhar Azizan Harun.
He said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 27) that they had accepted the decision made by the Election Court on Aug 16 which declared that Datuk Seri Anifah Aman's win in the Kimanis parliamentary constituency during the 14th General Election was null and void.
"The EC has received the written judgement from the Election Court in Kota Kinabalu on Aug 23.
"The Commission took note of the decision and will not appeal," said Azhar.
He added that the EC would be present in court if an appeal was filed by Anifah, saying that the Commission would wait until the end of the grace period for appeals on Thursday (Aug 29) before deciding on the next course of action.
“The EC is always ready to conduct a by-election when required, ” he stated.
Meanwhile, Anifah’s counsel Tengku Fuad Ahmad said the EC’s response was a let-down. He said that they were filing their appeal on today (Aug 27).
“It is extraordinary that the EC is not standing by its own officers. They should appeal, because based on the Election Court's findings, the returning officer and other election officers are now exposed to potential criminal liability under the Election Offences Act," said Tengku Fuad.
The former foreign minister won the seat in GE14 under an Umno ticket, but he has quit the party to become an independent MP.
On Aug 16, Justice Lee Heng Chee found serious breaches in the conduct of the election process with over 300 votes improperly cast, an offence under Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act.
The judge ruled that this affected the election results.
Datuk Karim Bujang, the Parti Warisan Sabah candidate who lost to Anifah by 156 votes, filed the petition to challenge the Kimanis results earlier on June 18.
Anifah secured 11,942 votes while Karim won 11,786 votes during GE14.
The Election Court had earlier dismissed the petition on Oct 16 last year, but the Federal Court then overturned the decision and remitted it to the court for trial.