KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional is facing an inglorious end as elected representatives from its component parties seek to re-brand themselves under a new coalition called Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS).
Sabah Umno chief Datuk Hajiji Noor told reporters on Tuesday (Aug 14) that they were in the process of registering GBS, which he said will mean the end of Sabah BN.
He however did not say if the current Sabah Umno members would also realign themselves into a new party to be part of GBS that for now includes Umno, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah STAR and any other “independent” assemblymen.
The Sulaman assemblyman said that Umno was still with BN but in Sabah, the coalition no longer existed as the local component parties were now re-branding under the Sabah-based GBS.
Sabah STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, however, said that Sabah Umno might need a new identity as Sabahans were going back to local parties.
After the May 9 election, Sabah was left with a hung state assembly with BN, led by former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, and Parti Warisan Sabah, led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal with his partners DAP and PKR, winning 29 seats each in the 60-member house.
Sabah STAR with two seats gave a simple 31-seat majority for Musa to be sworn as Chief Minister on May 10. However, Musa lost his majority when Barisan component party Upko shifted its support to Warisan, allowing Shafie to be sworn-in as Chief Minister on May 12.
Currently, the splintered Barisan-linked parties hold 18 seats (Umno 10 seats, PBS, six seats and two independents) that are expected to brand themselves as GBS members. Upko had announced its decision to leave BN after GE14.
The GBS move comes amid political talk that the former BN leaders were trying lure back some of its elected state assemblymen who left to support Shafie’s government as well as those from Warisan and its partners.
The sources said that they were preparing to be in a stronger position ahead of the Sept 3 court decision on Musa’s legal challenge against Yang Di Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin’s appointment of Shafie as Chief Minister.
Musa, who has not been seen in Malaysia since May 17, maintains that he is the rightful Chief Minister.
Shafie’s Warisan and its partners hold 44 seats in the 64 member state assembly (60 elected and four nominated). At least two Sabah Umno assemblymen have left the party and remain supporters of the Warisan government.