KOTA KINABALU: The sudden move by Sebatik assemblyman Hassan Gani Amir (pic) to leave Parti Warisan Sabah has sparked fresh speculation of more opposition lawmakers crossing over to support the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government.
Political talk emerged that the GRS government, led by Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, was eyeing a two-thirds majority or 53 seats in the 79-member state assembly.
The GRS currently commands a comfortable 47 seats through the coalition comprising Sabah Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional, Parti Bersatu Sabah and PAS as well as three independents.
Hassan’s declaration of support for GRS brought the coalition to 48 seats in the house. It would take just five more seats for the two-thirds majority needed for the government to amend laws involving the state Constitution.
Political observers and analysts described the first-term Sebatik assemblyman’s move as a surprise as he was not among the usual
suspects rumoured or mentioned in the crossover to the ruling coalition.
They said the move places further pressure on Warisan and its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to hold his assemblymen together amid political uncertainties at the federal level.
“It has been Sabah’s history that the winning party takes all. We have seen it since the days when Usno, Berjaya, PBS and Barisan were the governments where losing party assemblymen switched to the ruling side.
“It is a matter of time and what the offer is, ” said a political observer who requested not to be named.
However, other observers said the political situation at the federal level might hold back the more senior assemblymen as they felt that Hassan, as a “fresh” assemblyman, might have been easier to convince.
On Facebook, Warisan deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking said as opposition representatives between 2013 and 2018, they have been through some challenges politically but have never wavered, and have stayed put despite all the shortcomings, demands, innuendoes, personal attacks and even fiscal enticement offers.
“We are taught to forgive (as it is divine) and we must, but we will never forget how they had abandoned their cause so easily, more so when some cannot ‘tahan’ or ‘cannot bear’ to represent that cause as the opposition, ” he said in a post.
Hassan, who announced his resignation through the national news agency Bernama on Thursday, has since kept a low profile and remained incommunicado.