KOTA KINABALU: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should not be surprised with what happened to his Pakatan Harapan (PH) government having “masterminded” the collapse of the PBS government in Sabah over two decades earlier.
Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin said he was baffled to hear Mahathir lament about the defection of PPBM members to the newly formed Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
In a recent interview with a business news portal, Mahathir had described the exodus as a concerted plot hatched with Barisan Nasional (BN) to bring down the 22-month-old PH government.
Bung, however, reminded Mahathir that what happened with PH was no different from what BN did to PBS.
“He was prime minister then and behind the move to topple the PBS-led Sabah government in 1994 when mass defections took place from the party to BN,” said the Kinabatangan MP.
“This is a case of what he did before coming back to bite him.”
When PBS pulled out of BN midway through the 1990 general election, Mahathir led a full campaign by using the might of the federal government to topple the PBS Sabah government headed by then chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
This began with Umno setting foot in Sabah in 1991, which led to the dissolution of Usno.
Subsequently, Mahathir and the Umno-led BN went all-out to win the state election in 1994 but lost by two seats, with PBS securing 25 and BN winning 23.
Despite his victory, Pairin was made to wait some 36 hours outside the state palace before being sworn in as chief minister as BN unsuccessfully tried to woo PBS assemblymen to join their ranks.
Defections still followed, and PBS assemblymen joined Umno, Akar and splinter parties SAPP, PBRS and PDS (now known as Upko), which were then all aligned to BN, leaving PBS with only five seats and forcing a crestfallen Pairin to resign.
Bung also challenged Mahathir’s description of the recent event as a plot to bring down his government.
“How can it be a plot if he resigned? No one even knew the PH government was going to fall at the time.
“Mahathir stepped down as PM on his own accord, which meant his government had also fallen,” he said.
Bung said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had every right to call for the formation of a new government by a leader who had majority support.
At the end of the day, he said, the PN-aligned MPs merely wanted to be part of something that could fully and better serve the people.
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