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Speculation rife Sabah opposition lawmakers forming new party

 | August 1, 2016

Kepayan Assemblyman Edwin Bosi’s reported departure from DAP Sabah may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


KOTA KINABALU: Speculation is rife that a few Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers in Sabah are leaving the informal national opposition alliance and grouping together in a local opposition party under the theme “Sabahans for Sabah”.

The Malay Mail reported on Monday that Kepayan Assemblyman Edwin Bosi has quit  and/or may quit  DAP but efforts are reportedly being made by his peers to persuade him to stay on. Efforts to contact Bosi drew a blank.

Daniel John Jambun, a human rights advocate, said that he heard that Bosi was quitting because “he can’t stand the constant in-fighting in DAP Sabah”.

“It’s because of the in-fighting that Bosi lost in the recent party elections.”

Another name that has come up, in the wake of Bosi’s purported resignation from DAP, is Sabah Opposition Leader and traditional Bisaya Chief Lajim Ukin. The latter, it’s said, is aligned with several other opposition lawmakers including Bosi in forming the new local opposition party. It’s not known where former Umno Vice-President ShafIe Apdal figures in all these. Shafie has publicly mentioned forming a new party.

Lajim, like Shafie, was not immediately available for comment.

Political analysts in Kota Kinabalu say that the next General Election in Sabah will be dominated by local parties. “People no longer want to have anything to do with the parti parti Malaya,” said one analyst. “They have lost faith in the national opposition since the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat in the wake of the party elections in PAS.”

Another analyst pointed out that since PAS is not a team player in the Opposition, “it would be pointless for PH to be in Sabah and Sarawak.”

It’s better, he stressed, for PH to focus in the peninsula and come to an accommodation with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s proposed new political party. “Mahathir didn’t even mention Sabah and Sarawak when announcing his new party.”

It comes as no surprise therefore, he said, that Shafie declined former Umno Deputy President Muhyiddin Yassin’s invitation to join Mahathir’s new party. “Shafie knows that it would be difficult to sell Mahathir in Sabah,” said the analyst.

A high-ranking insider at Gabungan Rakyat SakSaMa (SakSaMa) claimed that Lajim has in fact been engaged in discussions with a SakSaMa member party with an intention to take it over. He thinks that Lajim, if the takeover materializes, will keep the party in SakSaMa. He declined to name the party.

SakSaMa Secretary-General Jack Giau said, in response to a query in the Gabungan Rakyat SakSaMa WhatsApp group, that he has no information on Bosi’s resignation. He appears to be in the dark as much as anybody else.

Giau’s party, Pertubuhan Pakatan Rakyat Kebangsaan Sabah (Perpaduan), has been the subject of much speculation in Kota Kinabalu. Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan, it’s said, held “preliminary talks” with Giau before the former’s Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) was approved.

The old Sarawak-based Star has since renamed itself as Sarawak Reform Party (Reform) and joined SakSaMa as one of the seven founding allies.


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