PETALING JAYA: Analysts agree that PPBM’s expansion into Sabah will eat into Warisan’s power base but have different views on how it should “handle” Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s party.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung said Warisan should take a more accommodative approach to PPBM and consider including one or two of its leaders in the state government.
“The Warisan-led state government can benefit from having former Cabinet ministers like Hajiji Noor and Masidi Manjun because many in the current state Cabinet are non-performers,” he told FMT.
Lee said that besides being able to help Sabah Chief Minister and Warisan president Shafie Apdal run the state, including Sabah PPBM leaders in the state government will serve as an “olive branch” to Mahathir after Warisan’s “no show” at yesterday’s launch of PPBM Sabah.
“Regardless of how busy everyone may be, Warisan should have ‘shown face’ and sent a representative to the launch.
“You can’t ignore PPBM because they are part of the federal government and their leader is the PM,” he said.
Lee said the fact that many prominent Sabah politicians were present, including those from across the political divide, underscored the influence, strength and substance which Sabah PPBM had.
This indicated that Sabah PPBM had an advantage over other parties and that it would not have a problem in building grassroots support, he said.
“So, if Warisan wants to be on the safe side, it must be inclusive because they must remember they are not very strong and could only form the state government through crossovers.”
But Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Pawi said Warisan should be firm in ensuring PPBM sticks to its pre-GE14 promise of not contesting in Sabah in coming elections.
“The no-show by Warisan leaders shows their discontent with Mahathir’s broken promise against entering Sabah,” Awang Azman said.
He told FMT the appointment of Hajiji, a strongman of former chief minister Musa Aman, as Sabah PPBM chief would also add to the discontent as Mahathir had previously said that former Umno leaders who joined the party would not be allowed to hold any positions.
Warisan must state their stand that PPBM sticks to its pre-election promise and that failure to be firm would risk it being seen as a party subservient to a Malaya-based party, he said.
“They will be less respected by other parties in Sabah.”
Awang Azman said that with PPBM in Sabah, Warisan’s popularity would be eroded and it was not impossible that in the long run, a PPBM leader would end up leading the state instead of a Warisan leader.
Yesterday, more than 30,000 people thronged the International Technology and Commercial Centre (ITCC) in Kota Kinabalu, where PPBM Sabah was launched.
Among the dignitaries at the event were Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general Jahid Jahim and information chief Joniston Bangkuai; Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan; Kimanis MP Anifah Aman; Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Joseph Kurup and deputy president Arthur Kurup; former Sabah MIC chief V Jothy; and former chief ministers Harris Salleh and Chong Kah Kiat.