All eyes on number of Sabah MPs in Cabinet

High anticipation: Sources say there should be no expectations as Anwar will likely unveil a lean Cabinet while trying to balance various demands from political parties. — Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah leaders are keeping an eye on who will be in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.With 24 of the 25 Sabah MPs from both sides of the political divide supporting the unity government, the question is how many of the MPs will be picked as ministers.

Party leaders have kept mum over the matter and avoided suggesting their choices publicly.

Talk is that at least three or four Sabah MPs will make it into Anwar’s Cabinet.

Among the choices, Pakatan Harapan’s Upko president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal are names often mentioned.

Also pushing for a Cabinet position is Sabah Barisan Nasional, who wants its Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin in the line-up.

Another name mentioned is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah’s Pensiangan MP Datuk Arthur Kurup.

There is also talk that former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman may be appointed as senator and be made a minister following his support for Pakatan’s election campaign in the 15th General Election.

It is unclear if Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, has suggested any names among their six MPs (Sabah Bersatu, four; Sabah STAR, one, and Parti Bersatu Sabah, one) to be included in the Cabinet.

Sources said there should be no high expectations as Anwar is likely to unveil a lean Cabinet as he tries to balance various demands from political parties.

A source anticipated that more MPs from Sabah might be made deputy ministers.

Hajiji, who was accompanied by the GRS MPs as well as Upko incoming president Datuk Ewon Benedick and DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, had met with Anwar on Sunday to declare GRS’ support for the unity government.

Shafie and Sabah Barisan chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin held separate meetings with the premier.In GE15, Sabah Barisan won seven out of the 12 seats it contested while its state coalition partner GRS picked up six of the 13 seats it vied for under an electoral pact.

Sabah Pakatan won five seats (Upko, two; DAP, two; and PKR, one) while Warisan won three.

Perikatan Nasional’s sole candidate Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee retained his Beluran seat after he was not initially fielded by GRS.

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