BEAUFORT: Voting has closed across 19 polling centres for the Kimanis parliamentary by-election on Saturday (Jan 18).
According to the Election Commission, voter turnout as at 4pm was 76.14 per cent.
Immediately after polling closed, all the ballot boxes from the 68 voting streams were transported to Dewan Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Dun Banir, which serves as the vote tallying centre.
The results are expected to be announced at around 10pm.
The by-election is a straight fight between Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) candidate Karim Bujang, 67, and Mohamad Alamin, 48, from Barisan Nasional (BN).
Karim had cast his vote at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Kimanis while Mohamad at SK Our Lady Kampung Kelatuan.
The weather was good throughout the polling period, which began at 7.30am.
The Kimanis constituency has 29,664 voters, comprising 29,654 regular voters, nine early voters and one overseas absentee voter.
There are two state seats in the constituency – Bongawan and Membakut.
The by-election was necessitated by the Election Court’s nullification on Aug 16, 2019, of former MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s win in Kimanis in the 14th General Election.
It is the 10th by-election since GE14.
Karim, a former five-term assemblyman of Bongawan, is the chief of the Kimanis Division of Warisan. Mohamad Alamin is the head of the Kimanis Division of UMNO.
Warisan, which helms the state government in Sabah, is allied to Pakatan Harapan (PH). UMNO-led BN was defeated by PH in GE14 after being in power since independence.
Anifah, who won the seat on a BN ticket, quit UMNO in September 2018 to become an independent MP. He held the seat for 20 years after winning it for the first time in 1999.
The court had allowed a petition challenging the election result filed on Jun 18, 2018, by Karim of Warisan, who was one of the candidates for Kimanis.
It had ruled that the presence of additional ballot papers had influenced the results of the polls.
On Dec 2, 2019, the Federal Court dismissed Anifah’s appeal to set aside the Election Court decision nullifying his victory.
On Jan 3 this year, the Federal Court dismissed Anifah’s final legal challenge to stop the by-election.
Anifah, who had been a foreign minister in the BN administration, had polled 11,942 votes to win by a 156-vote majority. Karim had secured 11,786 votes and a third candidate, Jaafar Ismail of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, had obtained 1,300 votes.