KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for a political ceasefire as he opens doors for negotiations with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to find an amicable solution to the political impasse.
The Umno president said he will be talking to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor to resolve the tense relations between Sabah Barisan Nasional and GRS.
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“You understood it very well,” he said when asked if he would be meeting Hajiji, who is also the GRS chairman.
For now, he said, it was agreed that all parties will remain calm and avoid further public statements that could aggravate the situation.
Ahmad Zahid, who was on a two-day visit to the Sabah capital, met with state Umno leaders including its chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin here on Monday (Jan 30).
On the position of the five Sabah Barisan-Umno assemblymen who broke ranks to support Hajiji in the political crisis earlier this month, he said he will iron out the issue separately.
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“We discussed the issue just now. An amicable solution will be reached and it will be announced later,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said there were frank discussions among the committee members on current political issues as well as the fate of the five dissidents, and he had taken their views into account.
The five Sabah Umno assemblymen who backed Hajiji were Datuk Shahelmey Yahya (Tanjung Keramat), Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (Sindumin), Datuk Jasnih Daya (Pantai Dalit), Datuk Arsad Bistari (Tempasuk), and Datuk James Ratib (Sugut).
Shahelmey is also MP for Putatan, a seat he won in the 15th General Election.
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Their backing enabled Hajiji to secure a 44-seat majority in the 79-member state assembly, enabling him to stay on as Chief Minister and continue spearheading the GRS-led state government.
This was after Bung Moktar announced the move to pull out from the state government on Jan 6.
Shahelmey and Ratib have since been promoted in the state Cabinet, with the former named Deputy Chief Minister III and Works Minister, taking over from Bung; while the latter was appointed state Community Development and People's Well-being Minister.