Kingmaker’s role for Sabah, Sarawak MPs?

Two political analysts say Sabah and Sarawak have the ‘numbers’ with their combined 56 MPs.

KOTA KINABALU: Political analysts here believe Sabah and Sarawak MPs should seize the opportunity offered by the political crisis in Putrajaya to demand what is due to both states, especially equal status under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Tony Paridi Bagang of Sabah Universiti Teknologi Mara and Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah agreed that the combined total of 56 MPs could have a “kingmaker’s role” in the formation of a new government and would be able to state their demands

“It’s time to seize the opportunity to demand from whoever is the next prime minister or federal government whatever dues are owed to the two states.

“I think East Malaysia can be a power bloc to reinforce MA63. Whoever needs the numbers can find them in Sabah and Sarawak,” Dagang told FMT.

Warisan has eight parliamentary seats in Sabah and one in Labuan, Upko has one while Sabah DAP and Sabah PKR share five seats between them.

PPBM has five MPs in Sabah, Barisan Nasional two, and Gabungan Sabah comprising PBS, STAR and PBRS one each. Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin, who quit PKR today, is now an independent.

In Sarawak, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) hold the lion’s share of 18 of the 31 parliamentary seats, while DAP and PKR have six each. Parti Sarawak Bersatu has one seat.

Lee contended that GPS and Gabungan Sabah could have an influence on who forms the next government.

“With 22 MPs, GPS and Gabungan Sabah can play a kingmaker’s role. If they team up, they will have a louder voice to demand what’s best for Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

“The numbers will be greater if Warisan is willing to be part of this. If they can reach a mutual understanding with GPS, surely it will be better.”

Bagang said, however, it was important for Sabah to be able to work with the federal government effectively.

“Federal-state relations must be good. But everyone in Sabah and Sarawak is waiting to see how this unfolds. Only Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has said something,” he added.

Shafie earlier today expressed Warisan’s support for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to remain as the prime minister, saying he had stated previously that Mahathir should be allowed to complete his full term.

He said although he had to be mindful of the possible changes in Putrajaya, the Warisan-led Sabah government’s primary focus was on Sabah and its people.

Mahathir was appointed interim prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, this evening after the King accepted his resignation.

Mahathir will administer the country until a new prime minister is appointed and a new cabinet is formed.