Candidates cast ballots in Kimanis, as turnout reaches 17pc at 9am

Julia Chan
Warisan candidate Datuk Karim Bujang on his way to cast his vote at a polling centre in Kimanis January 18, 2020. ― Pictures by Julia Chan

KIMANIS, Jan 18 ― Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Karim Bujang has cast his vote in SK Kimanis in Kampung Brunei today, while his rival Datuk Mohamad Alamin from Umno voted in SK Old Lady of Fatima In Kg Kelatuan, Batu Enam.

Karim when interviewed said he was less stressed compared to the last two weeks and relieved that everything was going smoothly.

“I had little sleep in the last two weeks but last night was better. Everything seems to be going smoothly. Weather is fine, hopefully it will continue at this rate.

“I hope people come out sooner to vote and carry out their responsibilities so the due process can be carried out,” he told reporters.

He also said he will be visiting all the 19 polling centres today.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was seen visiting polling centres starting in Bongawan on the back of a motorbike.

In SK Kimanis, some voters showed up as early as 6am and waited until doors opened at 7am.

“I woke up early today because I was so excited, we didn’t think we would get a second chance at voting, this is a privilege for us. That’s why I woke up and asked everyone to come vote. This is good for us,” said Kamaria Osman from Kg Kimanis Baru.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was seen visiting polling centres starting in Bongawan on the back of a motorbike.

The election commission had arranged for shuttle transport for several villages as well as wheelchair access for those in need.

As of 9am, voter turnout was at 17.19 per cent. The EC is targeting a 70 per cent turnout, which is 16 per cent less than GE14.

The two candidates and their parties have been campaigning for 14 days since January 4 in the 29,664 voter district whose majority consists largely of Muslim natives of mostly ethnic Brunei Malays and Kadayans, followed a third of non Muslim natives of Kadazan Dusun descent and finally about 1,000 or so Chinese and other ethnicities.

There are 19 polling districts in total with 68 polling streams opened and people can vote up to 5pm.

This by-election was triggered by an election petition by Karim where he alleged discrepancies in the vote casting process in Kimanis last GE14.

Karim had lost the seat to former Umno foreign minister and three term incumbent Datuk Seri Anifah Aman with a narrow 156-vote majority, securing 11,786 votes against Anifah’s 11,942 votes.

Another candidate, Jaafar Ismail of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, had obtained 1,300 votes.

In August last year, the Election Court declared null and void Anifah’s win, a decision which was backed up by the Federal court later.

Kimanis consists of the Membakut and Bongawan state constituencies, both of which are held by government elected representatives ― Membakut is held by former Umno leader Datuk Ariffin Arif, now in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, while Bongawan assemblyman is Warisan’s Dr Daud Yusof.

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