Sabah announces state Cabinet reshuffle after failed coup attempt

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Following reports of a purported attempted power grab by his own allies yesterday, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor announced today a surprise Cabinet reshuffle in the near future.

In a short two-line statement, Hajiji said that the state government would make the announcement soon.

“Details will be disclosed soon,” he said.

Yesterday, it was widely believed that deputy chief minister and on-and-off ally Sabah BN chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin was among those involved in a plot to oust Hajiji and the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government by teaming up with Parti Warisan.

The attempt did not materialise as some of the 17 BN state assemblymen and PH’s seven state assemblymen did not agree to the power grab.

A press conference called by Warisan at 4.30pm was also postponed two hours later, with no official word of the going-on.

But by later that evening, Hajiji had recouped support and put speculations on hold, being pictured with both PH’s seven assemblymen and seven other Umno assemblymen in two separate events.

Neither Bung Moktar, Hajiji nor Warisan’s Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has addressed the events of yesterday evening.

Following the failed coup attempt, it was understood that Bung and state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin would be dropped from the cabinet.

According to sources, a move to oust Hajiji was derailed after Sabah Pakatan Harapan pulled back its support.

Pakatan was supposed to be at the Parti Warisan-organised press conference at Pacific Sutera on Thursday (Jan 5) evening, but they seemed to have had a change of mind and shifted towards Gabungan Rakyat Sabah at the last minute.

“As of noon, the seven Sabah PH assemblymen were in agreement with the plans to oust Hajiji as Chief Minister but they met up with Hajiji in the afternoon at his office before deciding to join forces with Hajiji,” said a source.

According to the source, the move was likely to open doors for them to become part of the Sabah government including being appointed ministers.

Sabah Pakatan Harapan comprises of Datuk Christina Liew of Api-Api (PKR), Datuk Frankie Poon Fung Ming (Tanjung Papat – DAP), Datuk Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian-Upko), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang-DAP), Jannie Lasimbang (Kepayan-DAP), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas-DAP) and Inanam assemblyman, Peto Galim – PKR.

It was speculated that Liew would return as state Tourism, Culture and Environment minister while either Poon or Phoong would be the deputy chief minister in the GRS-led state government if Bung and Barisan Nasional were out of the game.

On Thursday night, Sabah Pakatan Harapan issued a statement confirming their support for Hajiji, and that they would not agree to a backdoor government.

The statement also mentioned that these seven Pakatan assemblymen did not sign any statutory declarations in support of any party or anyone in particular, and that their stand to work with the current Hajiji-led state government, applies until the end of his term in 2025.