KUALA LUMPUR — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today urged Sabah parties to support the proposal for a so-called “unity government” in the state, mirroring the federal government, as suggested by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The deputy prime minister said both himself and Anwar have been to Sabah to meet political party leaders and advocate for a “calm period” for the state, days after a failed coup by Parti Warisan and Barisan Nasional.
“I hope that all parties are accepting and open-minded to be with the PM for the formation of a Sabah state unity government,” he told the press after a session with media at the Kuala Lumpur Tower here.
“Of course, the agreement between political parties of their intention to provide welfare to the people should be translated and implemented, so that for the remaining period of two years to two-and-a-half years before the Sabah elections are held again, then I hope that the welfare and convenience of the people should be prioritised.
“If politicking is on the agenda then the issue I mentioned may not be made a priority,” he said.
However, Zahid said he did not want to comment much on reports that Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin had been removed from his post as deputy chief minister.
“There are some details that will be submitted, God willing, I will meet him soon,” he said, referring to Bung Moktar.
The state government has been embroiled in a leadership crisis since last week when there were reports of an attempted coup by Sabah Umno and Warisan to topple Hajiji and the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-Barisan Nasional government.
The coup fizzled out as Pakatan Harapan’s seven assemblymen backed Hajiji, as he later secured the backing of five out of 17 Umno state assemblymen as well.
It was also reported that Hajiji has relieved Bung from his deputy chief minister post, and rejected the proposal for former chief minister and Umno warlord Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak to be appointed as the state finance minister.
Hajiji, with some 44 assemblymen behind him — more than half of the 79-seat state assembly — could stay in power despite Sabah Umno’s decision to withdraw its support for him.
Last night, after a closed-door meeting with Hajiji, Bung and Shafie, Anwar said that he and Zahid had proposed a formula that he believes would stabilise the government.