Sabah Barisan state government loses majority as Warisan claims new majority with six BN defectors.
- Musa, who bulldozed his way through being sworn in, will be embarrassed with a vote of no confidence if he does not step down
- ‘Traitor’ Jeffrey claims “I did it all for Sabah, not for myself”
- Shafie expecting more to cross over to his side, but not welcoming Jeffrey
- LDP to pull out of BN
Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said today he is ready to be the next chief minister, after having obtained a majority of support from the state assembly with the defections of six Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblyman.
Shafie said that he has informed the Sabah governor of his majority, which takes his tally from 29 to 35, more than the simple majority needed to form the government.
“I have gotten their statutory declarations, declaring support for me as their chief minister. This is the due process of the law. It is spelt out in the State constitution that the leader needs to command the majority and respect to be appointed,” he said.
This means that the BN state government that was officially formed on Thursday (May 11) now has only 25 seats.
The six people who have switched allegiances are Datuk Hamisah Samat (Tanjung Batu), Datuk Abdul Muis Picho (Sebatik), Datuk Osman Jamal (Balung) and Datuk Jamawi Jaafar (Kemabong) from Umno and Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian) and Datuk Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan) from Upko.
When asked when he is expecting to be sworn in, Shafie said it was the prerogative of the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to decide.
“It’s not for me to say. I have provided the documents needed to show I have secured the confidence of the majority,” he said.
Shafie also called on Tan Sri Musa Aman, who was sworn in yesterday, to step down in light of the recent development.
“It’s clear he should – he must. If not, we know the next step. We hope it doesn’t come to a vote of no confidence in the State Assembly – it would be embarrassing for him – but we will if it is necessary. We are requesting that everyone follow the law,” he said.
Musa was sworn in as chief minister after an alliance was formed with Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) to reach a simple majority to form the state government.
Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin swore him in despite doubts whether Musa commanded or could hold the majority in the 60-seat state assembly.
STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who defeated his brother, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, to take the Tambunan state seat, made the move to join BN with the agreement of Bingkor assemblyman Robert Tawik.
Musa subsequently included Jeffrey in his 10-member cabinet.
Jeffrey claimed he sided with Musa’s team to benefit Sabah in the long run and that he made the decision after he saw foreigners celebrating Warisan’s victory.
Speaking in an interview with his party’s media team on Facebook, Jeffrey said the sight of foreigners marching and demonstrating in the heart of Kota Kinabalu at the conclusion of the election gave him “a glimpse of the future of Sabah” if he chose Warisan.
“I think about Sabah’s rights and I believe with this side (BN), I can persuade them to join me in my fight for the cause,” he said.
Jeffrey said he also gave Musa his terms and conditions to forge an alliance, namely to eject Umno from Sabah and restructure Sabah’s political landscape to allow only local parties in the state.
He claimed when the terms and conditions were laid out, all the assemblymen present agreed to unite in an alliance of local parties and make the Sabah for Sabahans cause better represented.
“It was easier to negotiate with BN because they are just one group. Unlike Warisan and PH, where I will be looking at four groups,” he said.
“Whatever decision I take, it is all for Sabah. I know what people say about me and what they call me. But one day, if all goes well, they will see the effects of this,” he promised.
More defections expected
Shafie said that with the majority safely in place, he was expecting more to join Warisan and its partners DAP and PKR.
He also claimed there was no inducement on his end for the six defectors and they had done it of their own free will.
“In fact, we had it much earlier but some things happened,” he said, explaining that Musa had “kept them cordoned off” with even family members being unable to reach them, prompting a missing person’s report from some.
Ewon and Madingkir also explained that they were unaware of the party’s new direction following the Supreme Council meeting yesterday and had signed a statutory declaration for Musa earlier.
“We were not in communication with our president. But now that we have been filled in, we are to follow the party decision. We met the head of state to let him know of our situation and he understood. This resulted in the delay of the swearing-in ceremony last night,” he said.
Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said that three other state assemblymen were also positive about the move and change of “tide” but were facing difficulties in “getting out of a certain place.”
When asked about Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan’s move to BN, Shafie said that Jeffrey had indicated support for Warisan at first.
“I’m not sure what happened but it wasn’t proper. A politician must have integrity. I won’t entice or invite him to join us,” he said.
While BN is trying to cling on to power in Sabah, the Sabah Liberal Democratic Party announced today its plan to exit the coalition.
Party president Datuk Teo Chee Kang said their defeat in four state and one parliamentary seat contested in GE14 was a clear rejection by voters.
“Malaysians have spoken with their votes. Taking heed of the clear message that Malaysians want a change in the regime, I discussed with the majority of my supreme council members and the general consensus is to take a step back and pull out from BN.
“As such, I have called for an emergency supreme council meeting at the party headquarters at 8pm tonight to endorse and formalise the decision, and to determine how the party should chart our journey from here,” he said in a statement.
The departure will not affect the ongoing tussle for the state administration as the party failed to secure any seats in the poll.
Teo, who lost the Tanjung Kapor state seat to Warisan’s Chong Chen Bin by 2,992 votes, said he will refuse any position in the present Sabah state government, given the current circumstances.
Sabah, long considered a vote bank for the BN, chose to reject the coalition and voted out many of its senior leaders.