Just a matter of time before PPBM enters Sabah, says analyst

Following the Umno exodus late last year, PPBM will eventually establish its Sabah chapter, says an analyst. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Tongues are wagging about PPBM’s imminent entry into Sabah with several groups offering themselves as sponsors, and the party is believed to be seriously considering coming in before the year is up.

This is despite Sabah Chief Minister and Warisan president Shafie Apdal’s latest request yesterday that PPBM honour its pre-election promise not to spread its wings to Sabah, as Warisan wants to govern the state on its own.

PPBM leaders, including its president Muhyiddin Yassin, have so far not completely dismissed the idea, promising instead to discuss the matter with Warisan.

But Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung is convinced that PPBM would eventually come to Sabah.

The only question now, he said, was who would be the sponsors of the party.

Lee Kuok Tiung.

“There are a few parties who are claiming they are the groups who will bring PPBM in, and some have even held press conferences to convince PPBM,” Lee told FMT.

“However, I am certain that PPBM already has in mind who it will choose to be the sponsor for its entry into Sabah,” he said.

Lee believes PPBM leaders are looking at former Sabah Umno leaders, who left the party last month to become independents, as the potential sponsors.

These assemblymen and MPs, he said, were in a good position to hold negotiations with PPBM to ensure their political survival.

“I think PPBM would go to them because they are assemblymen and MPs, and this will boost PPBM’s position further.

“At the same time, if these leaders want to join PPBM, they would want to take charge of the party here, or else there is no point in joining,” he said.

However, Lee said there was always a possibility the negotiation would not end well for both sides and the group might opt out and choose instead to form a Sabah-based local party.

Lee said he was not convinced that PPBM would keep its promise to avoid Sabah, especially because there was no black and white agreement between Warisan and PPBM.

PPBM is the only federal party that had not officially entered the state. The other members of Pakatan Harapan (PH) – DAP, PKR and Amanah – have already established their chapters in Sabah.

Lee questioned the protests over PPBM’s plan to enter Sabah.

“The big question is, why nobody complained when Amanah entered Sabah but now they are protesting PPBM’s intention to come? It doesn’t make sense, unless PPBM is seen as a threat to Warisan,” he said.

Sabah Umno Youth chief Aziz Julkarnain.

Meanwhile, Sabah Umno Youth chief Aziz Julkarnain said a national party was more acceptable to Sabahans than a local party.

He said the argument that national-based parties were not needed in Sabah was flawed as even Warisan was being assisted by two national-based parties, namely PKR and DAP.

The only truly local grouping, he said, was the coalition of local opposition parties, the Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS).

However, he pointed out that based on election results, GBS received only 5.39% of total votes despite challenging in all seats. This meant that Sabahans rejected local parties, he added.

“Besides, Warisan cannot be described as a local party completely because during the election, it was viewed as a proxy of PPBM.

“This means, at that time, PPBM did not come to Sabah because Warisan was playing PPBM’s role as the party that would face Umno in Sabah,” he said.

Aziz said PPBM would not risk losing Warisan’s support and would eventually push the former Sabah Umno leaders to join Warisan instead of PPBM.