Anwar tries to mend fences in Sabah, but Hajiji seems reluctant

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Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is attempting to mend fences across the South China Sea by suggesting the formation of a unity government in Sabah.

However, the current development showed that Chief Minister Hajiji Noor is not keen on reconciling with Sabah BN chief Bung Moktar Radin and those aligned with him.

A Pakatan Harapan source familiar with the imbroglio told Malaysiakini that the GRS chairperson is also refusing to accept Umno’s proposal for Salleh Said Keruak to be appointed as the state finance minister.

“It’s hard for Hajiji to accept Bung again because Sabah BN withdrew its support (for Hajiji),” the source said.

It is claimed that Anwar is trying to ensure that Bung survives this ordeal because the end result could impact Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s chances in the upcoming party polls.

This in turn could also affect the federal government since Anwar is dependent on Zahid to make up the numbers.

At this point, it appears Anwar is facing an uphill battle since Bung’s seat was moved to the opposition side during the state assembly sitting this morning together with Umno assemblypersons Jafry Ariffin and Yakub Khan.

Bung is the deputy chief minister and state works minister, Jafry is the state tourism, culture and environment minister and Yakub is the state science, technology and innovation minister.

The status of their respective portfolios remains unclear although speculation is rife that a new cabinet lineup would be announced soon.

However, the seats of the five Umno state assemblypersons, who declared their support for Hajiji, remained unchanged.

They are Shahelmey Yahya (Tanjung Keramat), Jasni Daya (Pantai Dalit), James Ratib (Sugut), Yusof Yacob (Sindumin) and Arsad Bistari (Tempasuk).

It is speculated that Shahelmey would take over the works minister portfolio from Bung.

In the worst-case scenario, the state assembly would be dissolved, paving the way for fresh polls, if this crisis cannot be resolved in an amicable manner.

Harapan is concerned about this outcome, fearing that it might trigger a domino effect in the other six states which have yet to hold their polls.

Sabah BN and Warisan have declared their preparedness to back a unity government after Anwar and Zahid held discussions with the stakeholders in Kota Kinabalu last night.

However, Hajiji is keeping his cards close to his chest. – Malaysiakini