Shafie: Coup Could Still Happen After Polls, Sabah Needs Anti-Hopping Law

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Caretaker Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has voiced concern that a political coup may still take place in Sabah even after a new state government is formed.

He feared a repeat of defections after fresh polls as what had happened with 13 government lawmakers who switched sides before the state assembly was dissolved.

This had occurred a few times in the electoral history of the Borneo state and as such, Shafie reiterated the dire need for Sabah to formulate an anti-hopping law to prevent assemblypersons from defecting to the opposition.

“I think they will also try their level best to buy people (lawmakers) after the (state) election,” he said in an interview with business radio BFM’s Breakfast Grille today.

“We have to formulate an enactment, (to think of a way) we can refrain them from moving out from the ruling government,” he added.

On July 29, former chief minister Musa Aman announced that he had enough support to form the new state government.

Following this, the Warisan president dissolved the state legislative assembly on July 30 after obtaining consent from Governor Juhar Mahiaddin, paving the way for snap state polls.

Shafie came under fire for calling the election in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout.

“Of course, I won’t like to dissolve it (state assembly) because we are facing a lot of problems in the country. We face not only an economic crisis but also Covid-19 is right in front of us,” he said.

However, he pointed out that the ruling lawmakers were being offered money and government positions as well as being intimidated by stalkers following them around and tax officers going to their house.

“When I looked at the way they did things in such a manner, it was better for me to handover (the mandate to) let the people decide,” he added.

Shafie said the governor has the constitutional right to consent to the dissolution of the state assembly based on the advice of the chief minister.