PETALING JAYA: Musa Aman’s claim that he can now form a new Sabah government has prompted a political analyst to ask what has motivated a large group of assemblymen to throw their support behind the former chief minister.
Arnold Puyok of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, confessing that he was puzzled by the development, said there had to be “one big issue” triggering the move, which comes soon after pledges of allegiance to Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.
“People are asking, ‘What is this issue that has made them want to leave Warisan?’” he told FMT. “Is it politics or is it the economy?”
Musa, who was Sabah’s chief minister for 15 years, said yesterday that he had secured enough support from assemblymen from Warisan, PKR, PPBM and Umno to form a new government.
Puyok acknowledged that Musa, as a veteran of Sabah politics, could draw on the support of certain members of Warisan, but he said it was also important to note that the assemblymen’s move might have much to do with politics at the federal level.
He pointed out that Shafie is aligned with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is at odds with the ruling coalition, Perikatan Nasional (PN).
“As Sabah political history has shown, if you are not on good terms with the federal government, it’s hard to move forward economically,” he said.
“The assemblymen know that they cannot go anywhere if Warisan is not supporting the federal government.”
Puyok warned the assemblymen they had to be ready to “face wrath of the electorate” for jumping from one party to another.
Among those with Musa at yesterday’s press conference were PKR’s Kenny Chua, DAP’s Ronnie Loh, Upko’s Abidin Madingkir and Warisan’s Osman Jamal, Hamisa Samat, Musbah Jamli, Bolkiah Ismail and Anita Baranting.
Musa said he would meet the governor of the state soon to hand over statutory declarations of support from the assemblymen.
He also said Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin and the political secretary to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had visited the governor to notify him that a new alliance in support of PN had attained a simple majority to form the state government.
The Sabah opposition now has 20 assemblymen and sources have said that 14 to 16 assemblymen from the ruling coalition would switch camps, giving Musa enough numbers to form a new state government. There are 65 seats in the state assembly.
Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah told FMT that due to the Sabah government’s “very high” dependence on its federal counterpart, it was inevitable that the assemblymen would now change camps to side with the Umno-backed Musa.
“I think Musa has the numbers,” he said.
Lee added that many Sabahans felt there was a lack of development in the state when Pakatan Harapan held federal power. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY
Anwar vows action against Sabah defectors, backs Shafie as CM
Anwar (photo, above) said he is following developments in Sabah and reaffirmed PKR and Pakatan Harapan’s support for the Warisan-led government and Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“If (the defection) is verified tomorrow, we will take action. I will not allow it,” he told reporters in Malacca today, according to a voice recording.
Earlier today, Sungai Sibuga assemblyperson Musa Aman claimed to have sufficient support from Sabah assemblypersons to form a new government.
He declined to disclose his numbers, but Sin Chew Daily reported that 32 assemblypersons, including Musa, were present at his announcement.
To form a simple majority, he would need the support of at least 33 out of 65 assemblypersons in the state, including those nominated by the ruling party.
Among those sighted at Musa’s press conference, however, was PKR’s Inanam assemblyperson Kenny Chua.
Meanwhile, to a question whether snap elections should be held, Anwar replied that the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed to curb its spread would pose a problem.
Asked whether the developments in Sabah would affect Pakatan Harapan, Anwar replied in the negative.
“Sometimes people hold the misconception that the political games between the elites represent the people’s aspirations. That is not necessarily the case,” he said.
Separately, The Star reported that Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking has urged for a state election to be held.
“We are shocked by what has happened. We think a state election should be called, and we return it to the rakyat to decide.
“This is something we are against, they have betrayed the mandate, which is for a full term. So, the best thing is let’s go for election,” he was quoted as saying.
Shafie is expected to hold a press conference to address Musa’s announcement at 10am tomorrow. – MKINI
FREE MALAYSIA TODAY / MKINI