A tale of two heads


  • It's Just Politics
  • Sunday, 23 Sep 2018

Back Home: Musa Aman arriving to be sworn in as Sungai Sibuga assemblyman.

All kinds of rumours are spreading in Sabah now that it has two chief ministers. 

SABAH assemblymen are offered RM25 million per head to jump.

Tan Sri Musa Aman will win his suit to be the rightful Chief Minister of Sabah.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal will call for a snap state election. There’s a Putrajaya deal which will see Musa and Shafie under the same coalition.

Welcome to Sabah Darul Rumours.

All kinds of rumours are spreading in the state which technically has two chief ministers – Shafie, the Chief Minister with power and Musa, the Chief Minister without power.

Let’s rewind to May 9 to understand how this happened. Barisan Nasional won 29 state seats, Parti Warisan Sabah/Pakatan Harapan 29 and Sabah Star two in the 60-member Sabah assembly.

It was a hung assembly.

Sabah Star backed Barisan, leading to Musa getting sworn in as Sabah Chief Minister on May 10.

However, within minutes of Musa swearing in, Upko and Umno assemblymen jumped to support Shafie, the Parti Warisan Sabah president. On May 12, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin allegedly “illegally” sworn in Shafie as Chief Minister.

The case of the “two Sabah chief ministers” is now in the hands of the court. On Oct 26, the High Court will decide who is the rightful chief minister.

“We feel that we have been cheated. Actually, we won the election but because of our friends’ crossover, we lost the state government,” said Sabah Umno chief Datuk Hajiji Noor.

“There are so many speculations as some people say Musa will win, some say Musa will lose,” he said.

While Sabahans wait with bated breath for the court to decide on who their rightful chief minister is, many are indulging in “gosip gosip dulu sebelum karaja” (gossiping before work).

The rumours came alive, according to Sabah PKR Wanita chief Rahimah Majid, when Musa, who was away from the state for 112 days after he left for Kuala Lumpur on May 14, triumphantly returned to Sabah to be sworn as Sungai Sibuga assemblyman.

“The rumours became viral when Musa arrived in Kota Kinabalu and he was seen as receiving special treatment. Musa was subjected to police and MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) investigation but nothing happened to him when he returned,” Rahimah said.

“People expected Musa to be arrested and wearing the orange-coloured MACC uniform just like what had happened to Shafie (when he was investigated for Ruralgate). But that didn’t happen. People are wondering why it didn’t happen and they think that there is a negotiation that is happening.”

After about 10 hours in Sabah, Musa flew back to Kuala Lumpur to seek medical treatment, untouched by the police and MACC. Some Sabah Umno leaders and members, said Rahimah, are saying that Musa will win his suit and he will be the rightful chief minister come Oct 26.

“It (political stability in the state) is a bit shaky now. Why is there no action against Musa?” she said.

Warisan supreme council member Martin Tommy acknowledged the rumour that Musa would win his suit was getting rancak (rapid).

“People are saying that they are waiting for the Oct 26 decision and Musa will make a triumphant return, kononnya (reputedly),” he said.

But all these, said Tommy, come from Umno, especially cyber troopers who cook up such stories to confuse the people.

“The fact remains that the Warisan-led state government had fulfilled all legal requirements for Shafie to be the legal chief minister,” said the political secretary to Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk V. K. Liew.

What strengthened the belief of some Sabahans that Musa will win the suit, according to Tommy, who is a lawyer, is the High Court rejecting Shafie’s application to strike out Musa’s suit challenging his appointment as chief minister.

“When it was struck out, people believed – after the news was spun – that Musa had already won his case against Shafie. What they didn’t understand was to continue his suit, Musa just needed to show that he has a triable issue,” he said.

Tommy also heard a rumour that in the event that Musa wins the case, Shafie will call for a snap election.

“It is not true. I have not heard that he intends to do that. It is just rumour,” he said.

The other rumour that Tommy had heard was that there were attempts to entice assemblymen so that a coalition has the numbers when there’s a vote of no confidence in the state assembly.

“As far as I am concerned, there are no takers from Warisan,” he said.

“Is there any government YB who will jump?” I asked Hajiji during a chat in a doughnut shop near Kota Kinabalu.

“I can’t say anything about that,” the Sulaman assemblyman said.

What Hajiji would like to say is that he, as one of the Sabah Umno assemblymen, hoped that Musa would win the case.

“It is not about whether you are in the government or in the opposition, it is not about whether you are Shafie or Musa, it is about how the constitution is interpreted by the court,” he said. “If the court decides that Musa is not the rightful chief minister, the whole world will laugh at us. We want the court to decide exactly what the constitution is all about.”

For Rahimah, the Sabah PKR Wanita chief, whether or not the court declares Musa as the rightful chief minister, it will be academic.

“Musa will not manage to replace Shafie. Shafie has various options. He can call for a snap election. Shafie can also call for a vote of no confidence in the assembly,” she said.

“Even if the court says Musa is the rightful CM, PH is already the ruling Federal government, there is no point for these assemblymen to support Musa if there’s a vote of no confidence.”

Even if there’s a snap election, Rahimah does not think the opposition – Gabungan Bersatu Sabah consisting of Sabah Umno, PBS and Sabah Star – can win it.

“If it is still the BN government, Musa can win. But with this present situation, we will eventually win,” she said.

For Hajiji, Musa can sustain his government if he wins his case.

“We have about 90 days to call for the assembly sitting. If he gets the confidence of the assembly, he will continue as CM. During that 90-day period, anything can happen,” he said.

Tommy, the lawyer, disagrees.

“It is academic. The vote of confidence was already done when the state assembly sat for the first time,” he said.

Academic or not, it doesn’t stop Sabahans from indulging from their latest pastime – rumour mongering on WhatsApp.

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