KOTA KINABALU: An academic has urged Parti Warisan Sabah to sharpen its focus on governing the state effectively instead of being preoccupied with strictly political concerns, such as the effect PPBM’s entry into the state will have on its dominance in the ruling coalition.
Speaking to FMT, Arnold Puyok of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said Warisan should bear in mind that its survival would ultimately depend on Sabahans’ perception of how well it rules the state and how much it cares for the people.
“Tell us where you want to take us in the next five, 10, 20 years,” he said. “What is your vision for Sabah? How do you plan to create jobs for Sabahans?
“Address these crucial issues and worry later about PPBM’s inroads into the state.”
Puyok reminded Warisan that it didn’t emerge as the clear winner in the last general election and said it was therefore crucial for it to win the people’s confidence through effective governance.
In last May’s polls, Warisan won 21 state seats. Its allies from Pakatan Harapan – PKR and DAP – together won eight seats to bring the coalition’s tally to 29 seats, which was same the number Barisan Nasional won.
STAR Sabah, which won two seats, threw its weight behind BN, bringing the BN-STAR coalition total to 31 so that it could form the state government on May 10.
However, the defection of four assemblymen from Umno and five from Upko shifted the power to the Warisan-PH-Upko coalition.
Puyok also said the state government should be emulating the federal government in the latter’s demonstration of seriousness in trying to fix the country’s problems.
He mentioned the establishment of the Council of Eminent Persons and the Economic Action Council and also “some promising initiatives” proposed in the presentation of the 11th Malaysia Plan midterm review.
A senior officer in the Sabah Institute for Development Studies criticised the state administration for its apparent lack of planning.
The institute is a think tank for the state government and the official who spoke to FMT requested anonymity.
“The government is still trying to please its supporters by rewarding them with important posts,” he said. “In the end, nothing gets done.
“The chief minister has the noble goal of bringing Sabah forward and eradicating poverty. Unfortunately, there is no concrete plan, no blueprint, on how this is to be accomplished.”
Among Warisan supporters, many are insisting that the party fight off PPBM’s plan to have its presence in the state. This is despite party chief and chief minister Shafie Apdal’s plea for calm.
Polls on social media show that the majority of respondents do not want PPBM in Sabah, accusing it of interfering in the state’s interests.
A campaign to label those who join PPBM or support the party as traitors is under way, but it has yet to gain the momentum its proponents are hoping for.