KOTA KINABALU: A political analyst has advised former Sabah Umno leaders who are expected to form the bulk of PPBM’s state chapter not to demand official positions in the government if they want to be accepted by the people.
“Realistically, PPBM has to show its sincerity in working together with Warisan and the rest of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties in Sabah by not demanding any government posts,” Rahezzal Shah Abd Karim of Universiti Teknologi Mara told FMT.
“If they demand posts, it will only prove that they are aiming for rewards, not serving the people.”
PPBM’s recent announcement of its imminent entry to Sabah has sparked criticism, despite chief minister and party president Shafie Apdal’s acceptance of the move.
DAP’s Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Tze said PPBM’s move was disrespectful to Sabahans and questioned the party’s willingness to accept former elected representatives from Sabah Umno into its fold.
Rahezzal said there was no reason for Shafie to include such individuals in the official government machinery.
“At the Cabinet level, it’s already a crowded affair,” he said, adding however that it was Shafie’s prerogative as chief minister and that some might be appointed as a gesture of goodwill.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Lee Kuok Tiung said the onus was now on the state leadership whether to accommodate the latest entrants in Sabah.
“The most interesting thing to see will be whether Warisan-PH leaders want to work together with PPBM,” he said.
“We will see how Warisan-PH reacts when dealing with Sabah PPBM, and who will become the middleman to access Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the federal government.”
He said it was unlikely that Sabah PPBM would be open to cooperating with the opposition if relations with state leaders go awry.
“Why would current lawmakers join PPBM to become the opposition?” he said. “Wouldn’t it be better for them to join other parties, then?
“But if Sabah PPBM can persuade the opposition to work together with them (on certain issues), we should give them credit for what they can do compared to what Warisan-PH has been able to,” he added.