KOTA KINABALU: The pressure on the Sabah coalition government, led by Parti Warisan Sabah, has begun with two assemblymen from its partner Upko switching support to Perikatan Nasional.
After weeks of speculation, both assemblymen officially quit the party to become independents as talk of more assemblymen would follow suit.
Local political analysts believe Perikatan parties in Sabah are hoping for a “domino effect” with Datuk Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu) and Datuk James Ratib (Sugut) paving the way.A few names speculated to be among the first batch of those leaving the state coalition government did not show up at the press conference at the plush house of Jury, a businessman turned politician in Penampang.
“More will leave in the next few days, ” Ratib said yesterday.
Political analyst Rahezzal Shah said the pressure was definitely on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) as he faces the might of the Federal Government.
“The house of cards is falling. Based on past trends, the likelihood of a few more jumping ship is high. It will be hard to predict but most are looking at Sabah’s west coast YBs, ” he said, adding that he was surprised Jury made the first move.
Rahezzal said mathematically, Warisan and its partners still had the numbers, but the situation was evolving.
“The best Warisan can do is to wait. They should also seriously consider their position to support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Trouble is brewing within Pakatan Harapan as they are still at loggerheads as to who should be nominated as Prime Minister-designate, ” he said.
With the departure of the two assemblymen, Warisan and its partners Upko, DAP and PKR have a total of 45 members in the 65-seat state assembly.
The Opposition – Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Parti Bersatu Sabah, Sabah STAR, Sabah Umno and a nominated assemblyman – holds a total of 20 seats.
Former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who was acquitted of all his 46 corruption and money-laundering charges last week, is back and widely speculated to be regrouping in a bid to topple Shafie’s government.
Musa, who is still appealing his case as the rightful Sabah chief minister at the Federal Court, is believed to be pushing for a quicker crossover from his former comrades, who left Barisan Nasional to join Upko and Warisan after the May 2018 general election.
Despite this, Shafie, who has nine MPs in his party, remains in control of the state assembly with a two-thirds majority.
Sabah has a history of political crossovers that caused the fall of the state government – PBS in 1994 and Barisan in 2018.
Separately, Warisan vice-president Datuk Junz Wong played down the issue, saying the state government was still solid with a two-thirds majority.
“It is important for the people to discern sentiments and understand facts. I know there has been a lot of sentiment-driven talk. But if you look at the facts and numbers, the Warisan-led Sabah government is intact, ” he said.
“The majority of Sabahans want to focus on rebuilding Sabah instead of being part of the federal power play, ” he said.
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