PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here today rejected Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s final legal challenge over a ruling on the 14th general election result for Kimanis parliamentary seat, which resulted in a by-election to be called in the constituency.
A five-member bench led by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh unanimously dismissed Anifah’s application for a review against the Federal Court’s previous ruling in nullifying his victory in Kimanis in the general election.
Justice Mohd Zawawi said Anifah as the applicant had failed to meet the threshold of Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 for the court to grant his review application.
“The power of the court to review the decision of another panel of the Federal Court is in very limited and exceptional circumstances,” he said.
Justice Mohd Zawawi said having heard submissions by parties the panel are on the considered opinion that the applicant has failed to meet the threshold of Rule 137.
He said the panel was also not persuaded on submissions of bias submitted by the applicant’s lawyer on the part of the four of Federal Court judges during the appeal on December 2 before the previous panel.
“We found that the biases have not been established in the present review application. Therefore, we dismissed the application for review with costs,” said the judge.
Justice Mohd Zawawi who sat with Justices Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof, ordered Anifah to pay costs of RM200,000 to all three respondents namely Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Datuk Karim Bujang, the returning officer for the Kimanis parliamentary seat and the Election Commission (EC).
The Election Court had, on August 16 last year, declared null and void Anifah’s win in the Kimanis seat in Sabah in the May 2018 general election.
In the GE14 on May 9, 2018, Anifah had won the seat with a 156-vote majority, securing 11,942 votes against Karim’s 11,786 votes while another candidate, Jaafar Ismail of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, had obtained 1,300 votes.
Karim filed the election petition on June 18, 2018, to challenge the election result.
On November 19, 2018, the Election Court judge Supang Lian struck out Karim’s election petition.
On February 18, last year, the Federal Court 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.
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.
Later, outside court, lawyer Tengku Fuad Tengku Ahmad, who was representing Anifah said there was no more avenue in the court for his client to pursue his legal challenge on the election petition.
“I’m instructed to convey to everybody that we respect the court’s decision,” he said.
The Kimanis parliamentary by-election is scheduled on January 18, with the nomination on January 4.