POLITICS: A who’s who of Sabah’s personality politics


LARGER-than-life personalities drive Sabah politics. In the snap state polls, these are some of the characters who will dominate the political theatre.

Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal

Shafie is leading the Warisan Plus coalition that ruled Sabah in May 2018 when six Barisan Nasional assemblymen jumped to support him as Sabah chief minister.

The Bajau leader has the love of the east coast Bajau/ Suluk and Chinese. But he needs to convince the KDMR (Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and Rungus) and other ethnicities like the Malay Brunei that he isn't a PTI (pendatang tanpa izin or illegal immigrant) lover.

Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman

Is Sabah's longest-serving chief minister even contesting? The former chief minister has hinted on Facebook that he was going back to Sungai Manila, a constituency partially carved out of his Sungai Sibuga state seat.

Umno is not fielding Musa who was its chief minister from 2003 to 2018. The talk is that if he doesn't get a seat from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, don't be surprised if he stands under the ticket of a Sabah-based party.

Contesting or not, Musa, with his vast resources and political acumen, will play an influential role in the state polls.

Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin

The Kinabatangan MP is the “Duterte” of Sabah politics. He is gunning to be a no-protocol chief minister. He epitomises Sabah Umno's motto of radu tatap radu (to plough regardless of the obstacles).

Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Noor

He's the “Mr Nice Guy” of Sabah politics. For those who are tired of the toxic rivalry between Shafie and Musa, Hajiji is a non-toxic choice for chief minister.

Parti Cinta Sabah president Datuk Anifah Aman

If there is a hung Sabah assembly like what happened in GE14 and PCS wins two or three seats, Anifah would be the kingmaker.

His admirers are hoping that Anifah can bring his foreign minister experience in dealing with contentious Sabah-centric diplomatic issues such as the South China Sea dispute and the Philippines' Sabah claim.

Sabah STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan

The maverick politician is so predictable for making unpredictable moves. If the Dusun leader took a step back by using the PBS symbol instead of STAR's, he might move closer to his dream of becoming chief minister just like his older brother, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan of PBS.

The unpredictable move will galvanise the KDMR. They have been longing for political unity among the communities which was fractured when PBS when Pairin lost power in 1994.

Liberal Democratic Party honorary life president Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat

The Sabah chief minister from 2001 to 2003 claims he got back into politics to solve Sabah's perennial PTI problem. He also wants to stop the Papar Dam, which Shafie revived despite Warisan's GE14 promise to stop it if his party was voted into power.

Chong supporters think he is Sabah's saviour. But he and others in this list might end up as false prophets.

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