Shafie says former ally Pakatan has right to choose its own partners in state election

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan says that its former partner Sabah Pakatan Harapan had the right to decide on which coalition or direction it wants to go in the next state election.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said it was up to respective parties to decide on who they wanted to team up with.

"It's their (Sabah Pakatan) right to decide with whomever they want to partner with. Just don't stop us from our direction to fight for the rights of Sabahans.

"Whatever the partnership forged, it will be up to Sabahans to decide," he told reporters after meeting locals in Sabah's southwestern Sipitang district about 130km from here Saturday (May 25).

He was asked to comment on a joint statement by Sabah Pakatan earlier Saturday that it will remain a partner in the state government led by Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) till the term of the assembly is complete.

Sabah Pakatan said that it was aware of speculation on the formation of new coalitions but it had yet to discuss any possible political alliances for the state elections that could be held any time before September 2025.

Sabah Pakatan - consisting of PKR, DAP, Amanah and Upko- said that they remained part of the Sabah government and supported the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor to complete its full term.

The two-year-old Warisan and Pakatan state government was toppled in the September 2020 state elections to the then loose and unregistered GRS coalition that teamed up with Sabah Barisan Nasional.

Relations strained between Warisan and Sabah Pakatan, which went separate ways in the November 2022 general election that saw Pakatan, led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, forming a federal unity government that included Barisan.

Sabah Barisan-led Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin withdrew the party's support for the GRS government in January 2023 after Hajiji led an exodus out of Sabah Bersatu to form his own Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (Gagasan Rakyat) to align with the federal unity government.

Hajiji survived the political coup when Sabah Pakatan assemblymen together with renegade Umno assemblymen backed the GRS government to hold his majority in the 79-member assembly.

Barisan, Warisan and Parti KDM led by Datuk Peter Anthony were seen to be working together in the failed bid to topple Hajiji.

Warisan remains in opposition at the state level but is part of the federal unity government.

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