The Jan 18 Kimanis parliamentary by-election will be a one-on-one battle between Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and Barisan Nasional (BN).
Only Warisan and BN fielded their candidates at the Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Dun Banir nomination centre on Saturday (Jan 4).
BN’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin, who is Kimanis Umno division chief, 48, arrived at the nomination centre at 9.07am while Warisan’s Datuk Karim Bujang, 66, reached at 9.10am.
Abd Rahim Jalani was the proposer for Alamin while the seconder was Joseph Mojumi.
For Karim, Jaafar Ismail was the proposer and Odong @ Lawrence Odong Sodoi the seconder.
Returning officer Jupari@Jupry Etok declared the closing of the nominations at 10am and announced Alamin and Karim’s names at 10.25am.
Jupari said no candidates were rejected.
The candidates were seen shaking hands and hugging inside the hall, where they waited until the official announcement was made.
Outside the nomination hall compound, supporters of both political parties kept their spirits high in supporting their respective candidates.
They were earlier seen mocking each other while chanting respective slogans.
Chief Minister cum Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had to intervene to stop supporters from both contesting parties from bickering outside the nomination centre compound.
Police, including Federal Reserve Unit personnel, were also seen trying to maintain public order.
When met, Shafie said that it was time for the current ruling parties of Warisan and Pakatan Harapan (PH) to replace BN in its traditional stronghold.
“BN was toppled (by Warisan and PH in the 14th general election) after so long. Enough is enough.
“It is going to be the same here. We will not be complacent or too proud but bring changes for the people.
“If DAP won the Sandakan by-election, Warisan could also win the Kimanis parliamentary seat, as we have support from all PH component parties,” he said.
Despite some exchange of words between supporters of the two political parties outside the nomination centre, Shafie said the process went smoothly, without any unwanted incident.
“This is an example of good democracy that can be shown to the world as we let the people decide the representative for Kimanis.
“We are confident that victory will be ours with success and prayers, as well as support from the people,” he added.
Alamin described the Kimanis by-election as a friendly match between him and his old buddy Karim.
He said although they are now in different political camps, he still regards Karim as a friend and whom he described his mentor in Umno once upon a time.
“I have known Karim for a very long time. He was in Umno and an assemblyman for 25 years. I was his student.
“But the situation has changed now. I am defending the Kimanis seat for Umno and BN, and Karim wants to wrest it for Warisan,” he said when met.
When asked about his mission, Alamin said he would strive to bring the voice of the people in the constituency, and Sabah in general, to parliament.
He noted there were many issues that need to be brought up to the current government, in particular, those that have created dissatisfaction among the people.
These include the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS), the high cost of living and the Pan Borneo Highway Project, which would most definitely be highlighted during campaign talks, he said.
Meanwhile, Karim was confident Warisan would not only be able to give a strong fight but capture the BN’s traditional parliamentary seat as well.
He stressed the party was not afraid of anybody, including former Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, whose support and influence was said to be able to sway votes to BN’s favour.
“Everybody is free to lend their support and that applies to Anifah as well. I don’t want to sound overconfident, but based on gut instinct and public feedback, I am sure Warisan will take the seat,” he added.
Karim, who was a five-term Bongawan state assemblyman when he was in Usno and Umno, said they were also working to convince young voters to vote for the party.
There are 29,644 voters in Kimanis, comprising 42% Muslim Bumiputras, 41% non-Muslim Bumiputras and 6% Chinese and the parliamentary constituency is made up of two state seats, Membakut and Bongawan.
The Kimanis seat was declared vacant after the Federal Court on Dec 2 upheld the Election Court’s ruling, nullifying former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s victory in the 14th General Election in May 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.
Early polls will be on Jan 14 while the polling date is on Jan 18.