PN not in great shape either, analysts say on talk of Sabah crossovers

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (seated, centre) with Sabah MPs and assemblymen in Kota Kinabalu on March 5.

KOTA KINABALU: Two political analysts have dismissed any immediate possibility of the Sabah government, led by Pakatan Harapan (PH)-friendly Warisan, falling to Perikatan Nasional (PN), saying the coalition led by Muhyiddin Yassin is itself in a precarious position.

They were responding to speculation that assemblymen aligned with Warisan are ready to switch camps following the fall of several PH-held states to PN since February.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak deputy dean Arnold Puyok said representatives from Sabah would think twice before making the jump as the federal government was “quite unstable”.

“By my assessment, there are no signs that the Warisan-led government is facing any internal crisis.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak deputy dean Arnold Puyok.

“I think at the moment, our assemblymen are very cautious. They are carefully calculating their next move given the political uncertainty in Peninsular Malaysia,” he told FMT.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had attempted to bring a proposal for a motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin to the Dewan Rakyat earlier this month.

However, it was not tabled as only the royal address of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was heard during the one-day sitting on May 18.

Mahathir subsequently vowed to seek Muhyiddin’s ouster at every turn, criticising his successor for joining hands with Barisan Nasional which PH overthrew in the 2018 general election, and questioning the legitimacy of the current administration.

In Sabah, the absence of about two dozen state reps from a show of support for Chief Minister Shafie Apdal sparked claims by the state Umno division, led by Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin, that Warisan’s days in power were numbered.

However, Warisan leaders rubbished the notion, calling it “laughable”.

Sabah UiTM’s Tony Paridi Bagang.

Sabah UiTM’s Tony Paridi Bagang agreed that the state coalition, which has 43 assemblymen against 17 from Sabah PPBM, Umno, PBS and STAR, was unlikely to collapse unless something “unexpected” happened.

He acknowledged a number of former Umno assemblymen in the ruling coalition but said chances were slim that they would contemplate defecting again.

“I don’t think they’ll dare do it if there are no strong reasons,” he told FMT.

“If they do, they have to prepare to face the people for their actions – it would definitely backfire.”

Likewise, he said Warisan would probably not want to associate with Umno.

“And how would they explain to their supporters about supporting PAS? If Warisan gave it a go, Upko might not support the move, and Warisan would face the wrath of the electorate.”

However, he added that in politics, “anything can happen”.

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.