Snap election for Sabah as state assembly dissolved

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal holds up a letter signed by the governor, consenting to the dissolution of the state assembly.

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Shafie Apdal today said Sabah governor Juhar Mahiruddin has consented to the dissolution of the state assembly, paving the way for a snap election in the state.

This follows claims by former chief minister Musa Aman who said yesterday that he had the numbers needed to form a new state government.

Shafie, who is Semporna MP, said he met with Juhar this morning.

“He has consented to the dissolution,” he told reporters here.

The announcement also follows talk that Musa was heading to the state palace to be sworn in as chief minister today.

Musa said yesterday that he had received statutory declarations from a number of assemblymen from various parties confirming their support for a new alliance he was leading.

“The next step is to meet the Sabah governor and hand him the statutory declarations from the assemblymen,” he said.

A total of 73 seats will be up for contest following the addition of 13 new seats endorsed in Parliament last year.

Shafie’s Warisan-led government came to power after defections from Barisan Nasional following the 2018 general election.

Speaking today, he said he could seek the governor’s consent to dissolve the state assembly as he was still chief minister.

“I am still chief minister of the day, and in terms of numbers, we still have the majority despite claims from the other side.”

Adding that the governor held absolute power to dissolve the assembly regardless of who had the greater numbers, he said he remained the caretaker chief minister for the next 60 days until the Election Commission sets a date for the polls.

At one point, he said, he had 45 statutory declarations from Sabah assemblymen aligned with Warisan.

“But some were weak in principle,” he added.

“Someone told me Sabah assemblymen are like handicraft that can be bought or sold easily. But I know the people of Sabah have their integrity.

“We know the values that matter in our lives, and we must protect the interests of Sabahans. So now we return the mandate to the people.”

He voiced regret over the situation given the current health crisis and upcoming celebrations for Hari Raya Aidiladha.

“But we must and can do something to overcome this (political) challenge. We will do our best,” he said.