KOTA KINABALU: A string of statements in support of Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has fuelled speculation that his government could be the next to collapse following his allies’ fall from power in Putrajaya in February.
This comes after leaders from Warisan, as well as from PKR, DAP and Upko, which form the state government, declared their allegiance to Shafie.
They also rejected rumours of a power shift in Sabah in July.
But Sabah political observer Lee Kuok Tiung questioned the need for leaders to deny the “rumours unless there’s truth in them”.
“The intention of the joint statement is strange and the outcome would create more rumours,” the Universiti Malaysia Sabah academic told FMT.
One speculation is that 16 assemblymen would switch sides to opposition parties in the state, similar to what took place in Kedah, Johor, Perak, Melaka and Kedah, where PH state governments collapsed following the emergence of the Perikatan Nasional federal government.
Several PPBM and Umno leaders in Sabah refused to confirm or deny if they were involved in talks to switch sides.
But Lee said the likelihood of crossovers in Sabah should not be dismissed.
He said there were signs the state’s political landscape would change, adding that it would also depend on the outcome of former chief minister Musa Aman’s court case on the legitimacy of his chief-ministership.
“There are also those who are still unhappy with the Warisan leaders who were once investigated for corruption,” he said.
With 17 seats, the Sabah opposition needs at least 18 assemblymen to give it the majority to form the government. The opposition is dominated by ex-Umno members who crossed over to PPBM.
The Warisan-PH bloc has 43 seats in the state assembly, comprising 31 from Warisan, six from DAP, four from Upko and two from PKR.
Sabah last became an opposition state in the 1990s under PBS.
The Barisan Nasional government came to power following crossovers of assemblymen in 1994, after Umno’s foray into the state.
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