KOTA KINABALU: Talk of an imminent change in the Sabah government is just an attempt to rattle Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor (pic).He said it was just propaganda and an attempt to weaken the 10-party state government that came to power after the Sept 26 snap state elections that overthrew the Warisan Plus state government under Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
"The GRS government is stable. We have a strong understanding among the coalition parties, and were given the mandate to rule the state," he told reporters after handing over state government assistance to 25 families whose houses at Kg Meruntum in Putatan near here were destroyed in a fire on Saturday (May 15).Hajiji was commenting on persistent chatter on social media that Shafie was set to be sworn in as chief minister on Monday (May 17) with the backing of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), which was allegedly pulling out of GRS.
Hajiji said PBS secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai had already denied any such move by PBS as widely speculated in social media recently."This is a propaganda play by certain quarters to confuse the rakyat and try to disrupt the stability and unity of GRS components," Hajiji said.
"Our focus is on developing Sabah. I am not paying too much attention to this," he said, adding that the culprits were also trying to shake the people's support for the leadership.Rumours of Shafie returning as chief minister spread like wildfire on social media on Sunday (May 16) with claims that PBS and its seven assemblymen would throw their support behind Warisan and its partners DAP, PKR and Upko, who have 30 seats in the 79-member assembly.
Talk of change stemmed from last week's statement by Shafie that he preferred to work with PBS instead of Sabah Umno as a partner to pursue state rights.Subsequently, PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maxiumus Ongkili welcomed Shafie's statement but fell short of agreeing to join forces with the state opposition leader, only saying that they were keen to work with anyone for Sabah's interest.
However, the political rumour mill began to spin over the Hari Raya break.GRS, made up of Sabah Barisan (Umno, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, MCA and MIC), Sabah Perikatan (Sabah Bersatu, Sabah STAR, Sabah Progressive Party, PAS and Gerakan) and PBS, holds 48 seats in the assembly.
Even with 30 Warisan Plus assemblymen and PBS' seven, it would still be short of the 40 seats needed for a simple majority. The Bugaya seat remains vacant following the death of its incumbent.