KOTA KINABALU: A political analyst in Sabah says Warisan’s decision to backtrack on its election pledge by appointing elected representatives as heads of government-linked companies (GLC) could work in either direction for the party amid speculation of impending crossovers to the state opposition.
Romzi Ationg of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) said the move could work in Warisan’s favour but only if the MPs appointed to the posts do an outstanding job.
He acknowledged that voters might be upset by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal’s decision to appoint two of his MPs to such positions as it was a clear breach of his election pledge.
He also warned of a backlash from the opposition which he said would seek to use the matter for political mileage.
“We need to give the chief minister room to do what he thinks is best to reach the goal of improving state affairs through these appointments.
“But failure to do so may hurt Warisan. It’s a double-edged sword,” he told FMT.
Earlier this week, Shafie announced the appointments of Penampang MP Darell Leiking as chairman of Sabah Oil and Gas Development Corporation Sdn Bhd and Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman as head of state investment arm Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd.
He said then that the move was for the good of the people, adding that the MPs had the experience and capability to lead the GLCs and ensure progress in the state.
However, the move earned Warisan criticism from Sabah Umno as well as electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 which accused the party of being “no different from Barisan Nasional”.
Lee Kuok Tiung, also of UMS, said the main issue was not the appointments but rather their timing. He noted that the decision had come amid talk that leaders aligned with the state coalition comprising Warisan, DAP, PKR and Upko were ready to switch camps to Perikatan Nasional (PN).
He said the appointments were unlikely to have any impact at the moment, adding that most people had probably forgotten Warisan’s election pledge by now.
“After all, PN is appointing its elected reps as GLC heads, too.
“Maybe the only interesting question is, why now? Why did they suddenly want to appoint these MPs, who are without any post, to lead the GLCs?”
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