KOTA KINABALU: Embattled former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (pic) seems to be distancing himself from Umno by declining to defend his Libaran Umno division chief post.
Speculation is rife within political circles that Musa and other assemblymen could be setting up a new party or joining other parties in their bid to create a new opposition coalition called Gabungan Bersatu.
Musa, who has kept out of the public eye since last month, is still pursuing the plan to have an alternative Sabah-based opposition coalition to rival that of Parti Warisan-Upko-DAP-PKR led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“The plan is still on. We are waiting for the court decision on the legal action taken by Musa to challenge the May 12 swearing-in of Shafie as Chief Minister,” said an Umno assemblyman who declined to be named.
Musa’s son Sipitang MP Yamani Hafez Musa, who is Sabah Umno Youth chief, is also not contesting any division party post although Musa’s younger brother Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has been returned unopposed in the Kimanis Umno division.
Political observer Rahezzal Shah believes that Musa’s decision not to defend his Umno post was a reflection of his move towards creating a new political force in Sabah.
“I think Musa is contemplating a new political entity either through a new party or through PBS as initially reported,” he said.
He said it was doubtful that the Sungai Sibuga assemblyman was planning to retire from politics.
Instead, Musa is likely waiting for the outcome of the lawsuit challenging Shafie’s appointment, he said.
After the May 9 elections, Sabah was left with a hung assembly – the then ruling Sabah Barisan Nasional, and Warisan and its partners won 29 seats each while Sabah STAR became the kingmaker with two seats in the 60-member assembly.
Musa, who was Sabah’s longest serving chief minister since 2003, managed to get himself sworn in as chief minister on May 10.
But a spate of defections from Sabah Umno as well as Upko pulling out from Barisan gave Warisan a 35-seat majority. Shafie was subsequently sworn in on May 12.
An irate Musa maintained that he was the legitimate chief minister of Sabah and filed legal action to challenge Shafie’s appointment by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
Musa was last seen at an Umno meeting in Kuala Lumpur on May 15 and also at the house of party leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi the next day before dropping out of public view.
He is believed to be overseas.