Sabah political heat rising with talk of crossovers

  • Nation
  • Monday, 29 Oct 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s political temperature is rising with talk of crossovers between the ruling Warisan-led coalition and the reshaped opposition pact Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS).

Political parties linked to the Warisan government as well as the four-party opposition coalition are indicating that there were moves for crossovers ahead of the Nov 7 High Court ruling on the two Sabah chief ministers case.

Well-placed sources from both sides of the fence are indicating that there are overtures to woo assemblymen to their respective side but they expect a clearer picture to emerge after the High Court ruling.

Former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who is claiming to be the rightful chief minister, is challenging the May 12 appointment by Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin of Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as chief minister.

According to sources, the yet-to- be registered GBS that is made up of Parti Bersatu Sabah, Sabah Umno, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Sabah STAR, was quickly launched on Oct 25 to be prepared for a court decision in favour of Musa.

They said the assemblymen, who could be potential defectors from the ruling Warisan as well as its partners Upko, Sabah DAP and Sabah PKR, were being pursued by GBS who needs at least 12 assemblymen to obtain a simple majority.

GBS currently has 21 state assemblymen against the Warisan-led bloc which has a two-third majority of 44 seats in the 65-member assembly. Observers point out that for GBS to woo 12 assemblymen from Warisan and its partners was an unlikely scenario, as GBS itself is not sure whether it can hold on to its 21 assemblymen.

They said there was also a lot of talk about some assemblymen in the GBS bloc approaching Warisan.

“Any crossovers from either side will nullify the movements. Yes, there could be up to four assemblymen moving either way. But Warisan will be still in control,” said an observer who declined to be named.

The analyst pointed out that there was very high anticipation on the High Court ruling but the reality remained that whatever the decision, either side could appeal and the process could take years.

However, political observers said if the ruling favours Musa, then there was a high possibility of Shafie calling for a snap election after it gets a stay order to appeal against the decision. A decision in favour of Shafie may likely see some assemblymen in GBS camp heading towards the Warisan government.

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