KOTA KINABALU: The conspicuous absence of some two dozen Sabah assemblymen in a recent show of support for Shafie Apdal by several leaders from the state coalition is a sign that the Warisan leader’s position as chief minister is jittery, an Umno man warns.
Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain said it was also an indication of what’s to come in Sabah, which remained with Shafie’s Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan allies even as the coalition crumbled in Putrajaya last February.
As many as 24 state assemblymen failed to turn up at the May 15 show of support attended by assemblymen including three deputy chief ministers — Wilfred Madius Tangau (Upko), Christina Liew (PKR) and Jaujan Sambakong (Warisan).
“Only 19 of the 43 Sabah assemblymen aligned with Warisan turned up then. The remaining must have been dissatisfied with the chief minister,” Aziz told FMT.
There had been speculation that the Warisan-led Sabah government would collapse next month with the aligning of assemblymen with the state’s opposition parties, PPBM and Umno.
Aziz said resentment was also obvious among the 19 backbenchers, who had not been given any ministerial or other positions.
He said there were a number of representatives, especially from Warisan and Upko, considering to cross over to align themselves with the state opposition parties, as they felt the state should not go against the Perikatan Nasional federal government.
The Warisan-PH-Upko ruling bloc has 48 assemblymen, including five appointed assemblymen.
The opposition namely PPBM, PBS and Umno, needs 18 assemblymen to cross over to oust the ruling bloc in the state.
Aziz said leaders from Upko as well state PKR and DAP may have already suspected that the Warisan-led state government is on shaky ground, and decided to call for a media conference to assure the public that the government remained strong despite the change of guard in Putrajaya.
Aziz said there were many factors why assemblymen were not happy with the state government.
Among them, he said, are the unfinished Pan Borneo Highway project and the alleged “Sempornisation” of the public sector, a reference to Shafie’s Semporna federal constituency.
It is alleged that those from Semporna were given strategic positions in the state government.
Aziz said this had weakened the state’s economic performance.
He said there had also been wide disenchantment over the failure of the proposed Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS).
Aziz said Warisan’s loss in the Kimanis by-election was a manifestation of the government’s failing.
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