Hung assembly in Sabah sees intense political horse-trading

KOTA KINABALU: Political horse-trading is going on in earnest with a hung state assembly in Sabah.

Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners PKR and DAP are hoping to form the next government with a couple more assemblyman from Sabah STAR or Barisan Nasional.

The Warisan chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and his team won 29 seats matching the number won by caretaker chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman of Barisan.

Two seats won by Sabah STAR held by Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is crucial for either Warisan or Barisan to obtain a clear 31-seat simple majority in the 60 member assembly.

It is understood that Barisan assemblymen are being kept at Seri Gaya as both Musa and Shafie send out feelers to secure the required number.

Kingmaker Dr Jeffrey is driving a hard bargain for his support.

Musa has yet to concede defeat while Shafie is confident of securing the numbers by the end of the day for him to be sworn in.

Until a deal is struck, Sabah may have to wait for a while longer as the Yang Di-Pertuan Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin decides on which of the two parties will command the support of the majority in the assembly.

Under the state constitution, once a chief minister is sworn in, he will have the right to appoint six nominated assemblymen on his side to have a comfortable margin to stay in power.

Dr Jeffrey, when contacted by the Star during the wee hours Thursday (May 10), had said that he was ready to work with Warisan and its partners PKR and DAP, as the GE14 results showed that the people nationwide wanted change.

However, it was learned that he has yet to formalise any deal with Warisan amid moves by Barisan to entice him (Dr Jeffrey).

Dr Jeffrey, who had also won the Keningau federal seat, is believed to be eyeing the deputy chief minister post and also a senior portfolio if he gives his vote to any of the parties.

He could not be reached again later Thursday morning and sources said that Warisan was also sending out feelers to other state Barisan assemblymen.

Dr Jeffrey, whose party was part of the local based opposition coalition Gabungan Sabah, is also believed to be talking to Barisan feelers.

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