Point of no return in Warisan, Pakatan relations after latest squabble, say analysts

KOTA KINABALU: The fallout between Parti Warisan and Pakatan Harapan has likely gone beyond the point of no return after the latest row between the once formidable allies, particularly going into the 15th General Election (GE15).

The relations between Warisan and Pakatan, specifically DAP and PKR, have now gone from bad to worse after Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal told a crowd in Sandakan last week that there was no point supporting the national parties as their leaders failed to deliver the promised Sabah rights when Pakatan was in power.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer Dr Romzi Ationg said Warisan and Pakatan were unlikely to patch things up before GE15, adding this will cost them the election.

“The disagreement between the Opposition parties (in Sabah) shall make them unable to gain more seats during the election,” he said.

According to Romzi, the bridge between Warisan and Pakatan, once formidable allies in the state, has virtually been burned.

“Yes (the bridge has been burned) due to ego.

“Many hope for them to mend things before GE15 but it doesn’t seem to be that easy to have them working together,” he added.

Shafie singled out several local PKR and DAP leaders in his speech during a meet-the-people session in Sandakan last Saturday (Oct 1).

The former chief minister claimed they failed to speak up to their national leaders like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng on the delivery of GE14 election pledges and restoration of state rights.

This outburst prompted strong reactions from both DAP and PKR, with Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon on Sunday (Oct 2) accusing Warisan of being a trojan horse that was out to split the opposition votes.

PKR deputy information chief Razeef Rakimin on the other hand accused Shafie of panicking and deflecting his failure as chief minister from 2018 to 2020 toward Pakatan.

This was met with a rebuke by Warisan, with its secretary-general Datuk Loretto Padua Jr telling off DAP that it should look in the mirror first before accusing his party of being a trojan horse, saying Warisan stuck to its principles within the opposition and was never a party to the infamous Sheraton move.

Warisan Youth information chief Khairuddin Daud also blamed Anwar, the Opposition and PKR chief, as being the reason for the Pakatan government’s fall in 2020 due to his yearning to become the prime minister.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun also believed the relations between Warisan and Pakatan have been strained beyond repair.

According to Oh, Warisan was adamant about going after DAP seats in Sabah and voter cohorts in the peninsula and beyond.

“It is likely to split the DAP votes a bit in those DAP-held constituencies (in Sabah). But as DAP’s majorities were overwhelmingly high (in the previous election), it is still likely to retain those seats, albeit with lower majorities,” he said.

He said constituents who were supportive of the Opposition will be put in a dilemma by the Warisan-Pakatan spat.

“But as they are more familiar and perhaps comfortable with DAP, many of them are still likely to vote for DAP,” he said.

When asked whether there’s still hope of the parties calling a truce, Oh said: “Sure, all it takes is for Warisan to be slightly more humble and realistic, and things could be patched up.”

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