KOTA KINABALU: Eroding support for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia across the country is forcing the party's state chapter to “mask” itself under Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), says former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"Bersatu is not as strong, they no longer use Bersatu, they are promoting themselves as GRS," he told reporters after meeting up with his social media supporters at a restaurant here Friday (July 1).
He said the popularity of Bersatu was eroding and even PAS in Peninsular Malaysia was going to use its own logo and not Perikatan Nasional in the general election.
"We can see individually, the other parties are losing their own respective strength including parties like Warisan," he said.
He said it's clear that Barisan was gaining momentum in Peninsular Malaysia with a lot of people now saying the coalition has the best chance to form the next government after the general election.
Najib said that what happens in Sabah would also depend on what's happening in Peninsular Malaysia where the political headwinds were in favour of Barisan.
He said Barisan needs to project itself strongly in Sabah as a local party with local leaders and not a Peninsular Malaysia based party.
"They must show themselves as a local coalition led by Sabahans under a bigger (Barisan) umbrella which is stronger.
"The message is to instil in the Sabah people that we (Barisan) are better and stronger," he said.
Najib, however, did not want to comment directly on how he saw the possibility of relations between the five-party GRS that includes Sabah Bersatu would shape up ahead of the general election.
GRS and Barisan form a coalition government in Sabah following the September 2020 state elections. Sabah Barisan did not want to join GRS when it was registered earlier this year.
Najib said that Barisan, when compared with other parties in the state, still had the advantage.
"Majority will go to Barisan. We need the right strategy and find capable leaders," he said when asked if Sabah Barisan could go on its own in the state for the coming general election.
Earlier, in his brief speech to his social media supporters, Najib said both Perikatan and
Pakatan Harapan were losing support and Barisan was getting stronger.
He said the country went downhill under Pakatan and Perikatan periods of government and many policies and development plans put in place by Barisan before 2018 were stopped or derailed just out of spite.