Leaders will use victim narrative to gain voters’ sympathy, says analyst

Shafie Apdal (left) and Musa Aman will be the key figures in the upcoming Sabah election but the presence of smaller local parties should not be taken lightly, says a political analyst.

KOTA KINABALU: A political analyst expects Shafie Apdal and Musa Aman to use the victim narrative to gain the sympathy of voters in the upcoming Sabah election.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) said the election will see the return of “tough politicking” between the two camps as witnessed in the 14th general election.

“Shafie will accuse his opponent of attempting to buy over the assemblymen from Warisan, meanwhile Musa will claim he was not given a chance to take over the state government after attaining statutory declarations which showed he had the majority, just as Shafie did on May 12, 2018.

“Sabahans following the current political situation will weigh all this when deciding who to vote for.

“In drawing up their manifestos, the party or coalition aligned to the federal government will have the advantage,” Lee told FMT.

Shafie had announced the dissolution of the state assembly after an audience with the Yang di-Pertua Sabah Juhar Mahiruddin on Thursday, in accordance with Clause (2) Article 21 of the state constitution.

However, Musa said the dissolution of the assembly was inappropriate as he had already attained a simple majority to form a new government.

Yesterday, the Election Commission (EC) said it will hold a special meeting to discuss a new election after receiving an official note on the dissolution of the assembly.

Lee Kuok Tiung

Lee said that even though the campaigning would revolve around the two main camps led by Shafie and Musa, the presence of other local parties, especially Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), should not be taken lightly.

PCS is helmed by former foreign affairs minister Anifah Aman, who had won the presidency without contest in the party’s elections on July 26.

”The same goes for independent candidates who have strong influence that may threaten the credibility of the candidates from Perikatan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan,” he said.

On Musa’s chances of winning the election, Lee said the former chief minister and longest serving minister in the state was still influential, even though he was just an ordinary Umno member.

”I also predict that Musa and his supporters will reach a compromise to pick the logo he will be using in the campaign,” he said.

Lee said the election would be more lively than previously and would see new faces introduced by the parties.