Analyst: Little chance of Shafie winning Sabah

The biggest pitfall for the opposition is their cooperation with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, says Arnold Puyok of Unimas.

KUALA LUMPUR: A political analyst has painted a grim picture of opposition prospects in Sabah, saying that Parti Warisan Sabah did not stand a chance against the combined strength of Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Musa Aman and his deputy, Salleh Said Keruak.

Salleh enjoyed the support of the Bajau community in the west coast and Musa the support of division chiefs in Sabah, said political science lecturer Arnold Puyok.

“In order to win, Warisan president Shafie Apdal must first break this unity,” he said at a talk held at the Nottingham University here.

Puyok, who teaches at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), said that Shafie had an advantage in that Kadazandusun in the east coast were showing growing displeasure with Umno.

“They are upset because they feel the Kadazandusun heads aren’t doing enough to speak on their behalf regarding their fears of increasing Islamisation, increasing Malay-isation, and illegal immigration.”

Shafie might perform very well in Sabah if he somehow managed to unite the Kadazandusun and the Bajau. “But I don’t think this is likely to happen. Shafie just started a little over two years ago and he is still largely considered an outsider.”

Puyok also said the fact divisions among the opposition and the large number of opposition parties contending for seats did not make things look any better.

However, the factor that would seal the opposition’s downfall in Sabah was their co-operation with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is chairman of Pakatan Harapan.

“They do not like Mahathir in Sabah. They still remember that he was the one who reduced Sabah’s autonomy on various issues.”

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