TUARAN: Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) have formed a bloc called Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to take on Warisan Plus in the upcoming state election.
Announcing this yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the pact was a united force to take down Warisan Plus to form a new state government.
Muhyiddin, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president, went a step further to add that Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Noor will likely be the next chief minister should GRS come out victorious.
Appearing at Tuaran town for nomination yesterday to lend his support for Hajiji, who is defending his Sulaman seat that he has held since 1990, Muhyiddin said: “The purpose of all the parties coming together and contesting in all 73 seats is none other than to replace Warisan Plus as the next state government. Yesterday, we reached a consensus to name our pact GRS.
“Who knows, if our partners in Perikatan, Barisan and others agree, the best we can offer as a candidate to lead Sabah is none other than Hajiji, ” said Muhyiddin.
However, Hajiji remained level-headed, reminding his team mates that they need to win the fight first.
Asked how he felt about Muhyiddin’s endorsement, he said: “I have not been informed officially, but we and our partners will settle this matter when the time comes.
“Of course I will accept the nomination but that endorsement (matter) comes later, it does not matter now. We want to win the state election first.
“So, I will leave (the decision) to GRS, ” he told reporters outside the Dewan Seri Sulaman nomination centre after handing in his nomination papers.
Hajiji will face Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Aliasgar Basri and Parti Cinta Sabah’s Datuk Rekan Hussein in a three-cornered fight.
On Muhyiddin’s disclosure on the next chief minister, Sabah Barisan chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said the decision would be made after the polling day on Sept 26.
“The focus of Sabah Barisan and its partners is on winning a two-thirds majority in the 73-member assembly, ” he told reporters after filing his nomination papers for the new Lamag state seat in Kinabatangan.
Aliasgar said Muhyiddin’s seemingly unilateral announcement only underscored the fact that the opposition front in Sabah is not united.
Referring to Hajiji as an “uncle” since they have blood ties, Aliasgar gave the assurance that the endorsement would not have any impact on his chances or on Warisan.
“To Warisan, there is only one chief minister, and that is Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“Whereas Perikatan and others have many, I think Datuk Bung Moktar Radin will claim (the title) too, and there is Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (of Sabah STAR) as well.
“But Warisan Plus only has one choice, and that is Shafie, ” he added.