Political storm brewing in Sabah with Musa’s return


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 23 Aug 2018

Tan Sri Musa Aman. -Bernama filepic

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set for a political storm as former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (pic) returned to Malaysia to seek a claim to his “legally rightful” seat.

“Though he is sick, his return indicates he is back to fight it out,” said local political analyst Rahezzal Shah.

He expects Musa to quickly sort out his legal troubles and work out his position with the remnant Sabah Umno members and its opposition partner Parti Bersatu Sabah to “take back” the state.

Although Musa’s Sabah Umno strength has dwindled to 10 assemblymen from 17 after the May 9 election, there is no indication that either PBS or Umno leaders have abandoned him, said Rahezzal.

The current Sabah opposition leadership is now under Sulaman assemblyman Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noh with the state secretary Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Both are Musa’s close associates.

“They have not abandoned Musa but the opposition here is disorganised without him. Musa’s return and immediate priority would give some form of direction to Sabah Umno,” he said.

Rahezzal said although there were some grumbling on his absence, the state Umno or PBS has not criticised Musa openly.

Musa, the former Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, was sworn in as chief minister on the night of May 10, a day after the general election concluded, to form a government with a simple majority of 31 seats.

But his tenure as a states person was short-lived when Datuk Shafie Apdal was sworn in three days later after six BN state assemblymen abandoned the coalition to join Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan). The move gave Shafie a simple majority of 35 seats.

On May 14, a day after Shafie was appointed, Musa, who was wanted by the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), fled Sabah.

He left Malaysia on May 17 for the United Kingdom where he is believed to have remained most of the time.

But on Tuesday, Musa returned on a private jet from Singapore on the day his political arch-nemesis, Shafie, marked his 100 days as the Chief Minister.

Musa will face a series of investigations by police, graft investigators and even immigration offences ahead of a Sept 3 High Court decision on his (Musa) challenge to Shafie’s appointment as the Chief Minister by Governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

But political observers said the 67-year-old politician, who is currently seeking treatment at a private medical centre in Kuala Lumpur, is likely to return to Sabah in the next few days to be sworn in as Sungai Sibuga assemblyman before Sept 11.

“Musa is on Malaysian soil and is seeking medical treatment; people should stop insinuating.

“He didn’t run away,” said opposition leader and STAR Sabah president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Masidi said politics is the last thing on their mind at the moment.

“All of us are happy and grateful that Musa is well enough to travel back to Malaysia. Politics can take a back seat, what is important is he makes a full recovery. We pray for his health,” he said.

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