KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Cultural Board chairman Datuk Ismail Bungsu, who’s also a Parti Warisan Sabah leader, has revealed that statutory declarations (SD) are being signed by assemblymen gathered at Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s residence.
Met by reporters who asked whether there are SDs being signed by assemblymen, Ismail merely answered "yes".
Asked how many assemblymen signed the SD - believed to be in support of Shafie’s candidacy as chief minister - Ismail said he was unsure, as it was a confidential matter.
He also nodded when quizzed whether there were negotiations ongoing.
Asked if the SDs involved Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) assemblymen, Ismail said, “That is their own matter”.
Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, when approached by reporters whether his presence at Shafie’s house was to sign the SD’s, refused to divulge further information.
“I cannot say anything at the moment, ” he said briefly before entering Shafie’s house.
It is believed that the signed SDs will be handed over to Istana Negeri sometime around 4pm later on Monday (Sept 28).
Assemblymen were seen coming in and out of the residence, as it is believed that a high-level meeting is taking place at Yayasan Sabah.
The mood is sombre, as curious journalists and party supporters were seen gathering at the garden outside Shafie’s residence.
Cars were also tightly parked along Jalan Tenejai outside of Shafie’s residence.
Speculation is rife that Warisan Plus still hasn’t given up despite being defeated by GRS in the 16th Sabah state election.
Following Warisan Plus' defeat in the election on Saturday (Sept 26), Shafie has kept out of the media spotlight.
Party sources have told The Star that Shafie is still eying to form a minority state government, as Parti Warisan Sabah, having clinched 29 state seats, is the single largest party with the most number of seats.
Under the state constitution, the “first choice” for chief ministership will be given to the party with the most number of seats.
Together with PKR (two) and Upko (One), the Warisan Plus coalition has a total of 32 seats against the 38 held by the informal coalition of GRS, as the coalition isn’t a registered political entity with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
Legal observers have said that Perikatan Nasional was “second” with 17 seats (Bersatu 11 and Sabah STAR six), followed by Sabah Barisan Nasional (14) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) seven.
Under Article 6(3) of the state constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negri shall appoint as chief minister a member of the legislative assembly, whom in his judgement is likely to command the majority of members in the assembly.
Around 11.30am, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim arrived at Istana Negeri to hand over what he said were 41 statutory declarations in support of the candidate for chief minister.
Two independent assemblymen are believed to have pledged allegiance to GRS, which bumped up its 38 assemblymen to 41.
Earlier on Monday, GRS nominated Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor as its candidate for chief minister and the swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday (Sept 29).
However, it is learned that GRS leaders were still insisting for the swearing-in ceremony to be done on Monday.
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