Horse Trading in Sabah: Musa Aman Claims Simple Majority

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The latest development in Sabah sees Barisan Nasional claiming it has the simple majority of 31 seats, with caretaker Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman asking to be sworn in immediately.

Sabah Barisan chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman with Dr Jeffrey (to his right) and five Upko members.

Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s Sabah STAR, which has two seats, threw its support behind Sabah Barisan while five assemblymen with Upko stayed put with Musa, minutes after Upko acting president Datuk Wilfred Tangau announced the party was leaving Barisan.

With the drama over a hung state assembly changing by the hour, Musa asked Yang DiPertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to swear him in “immediately” as he has been waiting since morning.

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“I have the 31 seats, I should be sworn in immediately,” he told a press conference at Seri Gaya in Kota Kinabalu today.

Jeffrey said that he was not joining Barisan but was supporting and forging a coalition between Sabah Star and Barisan as he felt that Sabah Barisan was the best option for Sabah.

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“We decided for the sake of Sabah to work with Sabah Barisan as it is a localised party unlike the other option who have to deal with many non-Sabah parties,” he said.

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Afdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah and partners PKR and DAP have also been hoping to form the government with assemblyman from Star and Upko.

Both Shafie and Musa were barred from entering the palace after yesterday’s election saw the two sides tie at 29 state seats each with another local opposition party, Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), winning the remaining two seats.

STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan was said to have agreed to align with Warisan, which would give Warisan and Pakatan Harapan a simple majority to form the government.

Apparently, it is not that simple in Sabah.

In the Sabah state constitution, there is a provision for the chief minister to nominate any six persons as assemblymen, which will mean his party automatically gets an extra six seats in the assembly.

So, once Musa or Shafie is sworn in as chief minister, they can immediately use this provision to increase their party’s number of seats without going to the polls.

For this reason, both men have been desperate to have an audience with the head of state, Juhar Mahiruddin, with Musa making a dash to the palace last night only to be turned away at the gate.

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Similarly, Shafie was given the no-go when he arrived with his entourage at 10.13am today.

Sabahans are now waiting to see who the governor will swear in although at this point in time it looks like it will be Musa.


Earlier report: May 10, Sabah Politics in Limbo As Shafie Turned Away from Governor’s Palace