BOMBSHELL – SHAFIE TO PULL WARISAN AWAY FROM ‘BORN LOSER’ PAKATAN IN FAVOR OF UMNO-BN? WHY NOT! HIGH TIME FOR WARISAN TO PUT SABAH FIRST – AND THIS IS POSSIBLE SO LONG AS SHAFIE CAN CONTROL THE CORRUPT URGES OF SABAH BN – RATHER THAN SIT & WAIT TILL THE COWS COME HOME FOR PAKATAN TO REALIZE THEIR NO.1 OBSTACLE TO ANY FORM OF SUCCESS IS ‘LAME OLD’ ANWAR WHO HIMSELF TRIED TO STITCH A PACT WITH UMNO’S MOST CORRUPT WARLORDS YET FAILED DESPITE GRAND BOASTS OF ‘FORMIDABLE SUPPORT’

Could Warisan join BN-Umno for GE15?

KOTA KINABALU: Warisan, which ruled Sabah as an opposition state after the last general election, may swing to other parties and coalitions instead of working with Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang in the coming general election (GE15), say analysts.

This is because Pejuang, whose status is still up in the air with its registration rejected by the Registrar of Societies, will have little to offer the Sabah-based party in its quest to return as a political powerhouse in the country.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer Romzi Ationg said one speculation that is gaining traction is that Warisan could work with Barisan Nasional-Umno in GE15.

He said there are rumours in political circles that Warisan is also revisiting its pact with Pakatan Harapan (PH) and will thus need a strong substitute to ensure its own survival if it did part ways with PH.

Romzi Ationg.

Anything is possible in politics but I dont think it is good for Warisan to focus on Mahathir and Pejuang,” he told FMT.

“Warisan president Shafie Apdal, who along with PH boss Anwar Ibrahim had been touted as prime ministerial candidate, should focus on consolidating his party’s grip on Sabah as well as federal politics by collaborating with parties who many consider more relevant to Malaysian politics.

“The political outfit (that Warisan should work with) should also be capable of making Sabah a developed state on par with others in the peninsula.”

Romzi was commenting on socio-political analyst Awang Azman Pawi’s suggestion that Warisan would likely throw its support behind Mahathir in GE15 due to Shafie’s “personal relationship” with the former prime minister.

Although he is not 100% convinced Warisan will eventually link up with its current political enemy, Romzi said Warisan could work with BN-Umno instead of Perikatan Nasional because of the former’s stability. Shafie himself was a former Umno vice-president and has good friends within the top Umno circles.

Romzi said Warisan and BN-Umno could complement each other, with Warisan requiring an ally to gain more seats in GE15 and BN-Umno needing a solid local-based party that could help it re-establish its position in Sabah.

“Why would Warisan pick BN-Umno over PN? Among the reasons is that Umno is still strong in the peninsula (compared to PN),” he said.

Whether such an alliance would materialise remains to be seen as Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking had previously said his party would never join forces with Umno.

This came after a claim that many of the peninsula-based party’s MPs and those from BN were backing Anwar to form a new government.

Sabah Umno is part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition, together with PN and PBS. Yesterday, Warisan assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir left Warisan to back GRS, which is now affiliated to the PN government.

Political observers, however, consider the ties between Sabah Umno and its GRS partners to be tenuous, particularly with Sabah PPBM, especially after the tensions over the chief minister’s post following last year’s state election.

Arnold Puyok.

Sabah Umno helped GRS secure a slim majority by winning 38 seats but conceded the chief ministership to Sabah PPBM, which angered a host of Umno leaders.

Universiti of Malaysia Sarawak deputy dean Arnold Puyok said Warisan working with BN-Umno may not sit well with some of its supporters.

“But Warisan should be ready to work with anyone if it aspires to be at the helm once again,” he said, adding that he believed Warisan was still keeping its options open as far as political allies for GE15 is concerned.

He also pointed out Warisan could stand to suffer more losses than gains if the party sided with Mahathir, who he felt was a divisive figure both in Sabah and neighbouring Sarawak.

“By now, Warisan should realise that Mahathir was partly to be blamed for PH’s downfall.

Tony Paridi Bagang.

Rumours of more defections after rep quits Warisan

KOTA KINABALU: Speculation is mounting that further defections might take place from Warisan after one of its assemblyman quit the party and pledged support for the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government yesterday.

Party sources said there are rumours some more are contemplating following in the footsteps of Sebatik assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir, who declared himself an independent but is backing GRS.

A source said Hassan’s departure caught Warisan by surprise as he was not among those rumoured to switch allegiance.

“Anything is possible now after he defected but we’ll see if that happens because many are still loyal to party president Shafie Apdal,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Hassan A Gani Pg Amir.

The source also said the timing of the defection was odd as there was no indication of any assemblyman wanting to cross over, considering the uncertain political situation in the country presently.

“Who knows, perhaps this is a sign of things to come with speculation over a snap general election soon,” the source added.

Political analyst Tony Paridi Bagang said looking at the trend of party hopping in Sabah previously, there is evidence to believe more elected representatives will be making the switch.

“The same excuses are given, such as wanting to be aligned to the government of the day, loss of trust in their current party and wanting to prioritise development for their constituents.

“Whatever the reasons, this indicates that political realignment will continue to happen as long as an anti-hopping law is not enforced,” he told FMT.

According to Bernama, Hassan decided to leave Warisan because the party was focused more on politicking, instead of the people’s well-being. He also said he was throwing his support behind Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Hassan said he was saddened that Warisan had prioritised politics over the welfare of the people, who were struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

His decision to side with GRS means the coalition, which comprises Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) and PBS, now has the backing of 48 of the 79 assemblymen in the state.

Hassan defeated closest contender Muis Picho from PN in a seven-way battle for the Sebatik seat with a 522-majority after garnering 2,665 votes in the Sabah election last year.

Meanwhile, GRS deputy chairman Bung Moktar Radin and information chief Joniston Bangkuai were not totally surprised with Hassan’s decision.

Bung, who is also the Sabah BN and Umno chief, and Bangkuai, the PBS secretary-general, however said they were not aware if more defections will occur.

Bung said he had “heard rumours” that Hassan was thinking of joining the coalition after the state election.

“But we have not made any contact with him. I believe his decision to leave Warisan was not due to anyone asking him to do so but down to him losing conviction in the party’s struggles.

“I welcome his decision to support GRS. Sabah Umno is also always open to any assemblyman, MP or anyone to join our party,” he said.

Bangkuai said Hassan “might have seen something he liked” about the GRS administration that pushed him to quit Warisan.

The Kiulu assemblyman said opposition assemblymen had praised chief minister Hajiji Noor for granting a special RM100,000 allocation for each of the 31 opposition members to help their constituents in light of the pandemic.

“I had no idea he would defect but it did not come to me as a total surprise.

“We now have a government that wants to be fair to all. Many of the opposition figures said ‘thank you’ to the CM (for the special allocation) … maybe that motivated him to rethink his political alignment,” he said.

Bangkuai is unaware if any more opposition assemblymen will support GRS but has no problem welcoming “new friends” to the coalition.

“Why not? Maybe it’s better for all of us to come together and make sure we have a strong government to bring changes for Sabah’s betterment,” he said.

“The risks of working with Pejuang far outweigh the benefits for Warisan,” he said.

Sabah UiTM’s Tony Paridi Bagang, however, disagreed with Romzi and Puyok, believing that Warisan will eventually opt to maintain its political alliance with PH but work with Pejuang at the same time.

“The Warisan-Pejuang cooperation can be seen as an attempt to be kingmakers in the coming polls,” he said.

Whether that is accepted by PH is another matter, he said, but as history has shown, anything is possible in Sabah politics.

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