Political Coup in Sabah – Warisan Reps Claim They Were Approached by Certain “Agents”

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Speculation had been rife that the Sabah state government would fall in July, following an attempt from the Perikatan Nasional side to persuade the lawmakers to join them.

The Warisan-led Sabah state government was hit by another political coup attempt, with more than a dozen assemblypersons allegedly induced to quit their parties.

“This is the second wave. Like the first wave, the move did not shake the state government as we still have 43 assemblypersons out of the 60-elected state assemblypersons.

“(On top of that) we also have five nominated state assemblypersons who are also part of the government. We are intact with more than two-third majority,” Warisan chairperson in an interview with Malaysiakini.

“The rumours that Warisan government is going to collapse is absolutely untrue, absolutely nonsense,” the former de-factor Law Minister said.

Several other Warisan leaders also stepped forward to reaffirm their loyalty to the ruling party led by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and fend off enticement offers for their defection amid heated rumours of another change in state government.

Gum Gum assemblyman Arunarsin Taib claimed he was approached 10 times last month by agents of the Opposition to “save himself” from a falling Warisan government.

In a statement in Kota Kinabalu, he said he was offered up to RM27 million to switch parties and support former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman so the latter could form government.

“There’s an additional RM5 million offered to those holding minister and assistant minister posts bringing it a total of RM32 million to betray the people’s mandate,” said the Sabah assistant youth and sports minister.

“I told the so-called agents that it’s a shame to use the money to enrich elected representatives. They’ll be rich but the people will suffer because of a power grab.

“Wouldn’t it be good to see the money being channelled to Sabahans who need it? We can get so much in return in the afterlife,” he said.

Speculation had been rife that the Sabah state government would fall in July, following an attempt from the Perikatan Nasional side to persuade the lawmakers to quit parties.

There were also reports of tax officers visiting lawmakers’ houses, while others were contacted by political agents with offers.

A source close to Pakatan Harapan told Malaysiakini the state government faced a massive attack and survived the political plots, with first blow happening in June, followed by the second in July.

Previously, Sabah DAP reps claimed they had been offered up to RM15 million to defect to PN.

Tanjung Kapor assemblyman Ben Chong, whose name was touted to be on a list of defectors who had signed a statutory declaration supporting Musa, also denied any intention to cross over.

Chong said that he had no reason to defect even though he was also rumoured to be named state education minister and innovation in the “new” Sabah Cabinet should it come under Perikatan Nasional.

“I will never betray my president, the party and my Warisan colleagues,” he said, adding that he was shocked when his name emerged on a list of defectors.

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“Ben Chong IS NOT FOR SALE and it’s final. Enough of the continued efforts to lobby me for me, and through my friends,” he said in a statement.

Warisan’s Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman had also told the Dewan Rakyat in Kuala Lumpur that his colleagues were receiving text messages from individuals claiming to be agents of “number one”.

DAP assemblypersons Jannie Lasimbang (Kapayan) and Calvin Chong (Elopura) yesterday lodged police reports complaining of political agents visiting them at home to entice them to leave their party.

Sabah PKR vice-chairman Kenny Chua, meanwhile, denied signing any statutory declarations (SD) to support Musa Aman for the chief minister’s post.

“I did not sign any SD for Musa. The only SD I signed was for Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal,” he said.

The state Assistant Finance Minister said he was loyal to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and had no intention of leaving the party.

Warisan vice-president Junz Wong condemned the repeated attempts as harassment and said he was confident the party and state government would remain intact.

“The attempts are real, but it won’t succeed. Money cannot buy our dignity and our passion and love for Sabah.

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“This generation of Sabah leaders under Shafie will stick together for the sake of our fellow Sabahans and a better Sabah,” he said.