KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s re-entry to the political scene in Sabah by leading a locally-based party, is expected to create a buzz in the next election as to what kind of "new deals" will be offered to Sabah.
Political analysts however, said that the next move by the party on who they collaborate with, and whether they can inject new blood other than the usual seasoned politicians, will determine the party’s pull and influence on voters.
The former foreign minister, who was party-less since leaving Umno in Sept 2018, had taken over as Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) president on Sunday (July 26), winning uncontested in the party’s second biennial gathering.
Incumbent Datuk Wilfred Bumburing became deputy president in the party. The party will also be undergoing re-branding as Parti Kesedaran Rakyat Sabah (PKRS), where the logo and flag will be changed.
“Undoubtedly, Anifah is one of the most prominent politicians in Sabah and also at the national level.
“With his vast political experience and his political loyalists, he will be the limelight in the coming election. Surely, PCS would be seen as a re-emerging political party that is going to offer ‘new deals’ for Sabah.
“PCS' new line-up comprises of prominent politicians. However, their greater challenge is how they are going to prove to the people that they are still influential and effective leaders, ” said Sabah Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) senior lecturer Tony Paridi Bagang.
He added that the party’s plan on how many seats they will contest in future elections would be one of the factors that determine future collaboration with other allies.
“Based on Sabah’s political dynamics, especially in the context of federalism, PCS and Anifah would collaborate with national-based parties, perhaps Umno, ” he told The Star.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) political researcher Dr Lee Kuok Tiung said it was too early to judge what kind of impact the party would have on the state’s political landscape, as it had yet to complete its full line-up or announce their political allies.
“The party seemed to be a multi-ethnic party like PBS, but we have to wait for the party to announce who their counterparts are.
“The only 'unpleasant' response from the ground, was that the majority of the leaders are 'old horses' or 'old wine in the new bottle'... I think they are trying to say they are 'recycled leaders'.
“But we have to be fair to them and give them a chance to prove themselves first.
“At the same time, they need to highlight the new faces in the party, and increase the visibility of new leaders, ” Lee said when contacted.
Senior lecturer in politics at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Dr Arnold Puyok who observes political developments in the east Malaysia states, said Anifah’s challenge will be to infuse the new party with fresh ideas and a new vision for Sabah.
The chairman of the think-tank Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (Seeds) believed Anifah would be able to slowly garner support especially among those who have not committed to any political party at the moment.
“The other challenge is to get more young and professional people to support the party.
“But he (Anifah) has the experience, and he has the ability to cosy up to people with different political leanings, ” said Arnold.
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