Sabah DAP in damage control mode after S'wak polls, says analyst

  • Nation
  • Monday, 20 Dec 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP is in damage control mode after pulling out of the Pakatan Harapan-planned bipartisan deal with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), says political analyst Toni Paridi Bagang.

"DAP's decision seems to reflect its performance during the Melaka and Sarawak state election results. Perhaps it can read the sentiments of Chinese voters that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) may not be giving them an advantage at all," said Bagang

Bagang said that the recently-concluded Sarawak election result has strongly sent a message to them, especially from the Chinese voters.

A day after the Sarawak polls where DAP only managed to win two seats, Sabah DAP secretary Phoong Jin Zhe announced that Sabah DAP would not sign an MoU for cooperation with GRS.

The move took its Pakatan partner Sabah PKR by surprise with its chairman Datuk Christina Liew saying that she was not aware of the move by DAP to not go ahead and sign the seven-point MoU with GRS.

Prior to this, Sabah Pakatan – comprising two PKR assemblymen, six DAP assemblymen, one Upko assemblyman and Amanah – had submitted a seven point reform agenda for working together with GRS led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on Nov 15.

Bagang said that PKR might be sticking to political pragmatism in their action to ensure political stability in the state in line with the national MoU signed in May.

However, Bagang did not rule out the possibility of Sabah PKR looking at opportunities that might spill over if tensions erupt between GRS allies, especially Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional at the state level.

“A MoU with GRS could make an impression that PKR is pragmatic in their action to ensure political stability. PKR might also be opportunist knowing that GRS is ‘fragile’ in its coalition," he added.

Meanwhile, several analysts see the Sarawak election results putting more pressure on the national Opposition parties in Sabah as voters in Sarawak opted to throw their support to local parties in the neighbouring Borneo state.

The local Warisan led byDatuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had opted not to sign the bipartisan national MoU and stayed out of a similar move by Sabah Pakatan, stating that there was no need for such a deal as GRS was sitting with a comfortable majority in the 78-member state assembly.

Though Warisan and Pakatan sit together on the opposition bench for common issues, relations between Warisan and PKR seems to be straining with signs of Sabah PKR wanting to cut ties.

Sabah DAP and Warisan are widely seen to be maintaining ties but the proposed MoU had strained relations.

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