Shafie: Despite unity govt flop in Sabah, Warisan will continue to back Anwar

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Warisan will continue to support Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim despite the latter failing to persuade parties in Sabah to form a unity government.

In an interview with Malaysiakini in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Warisan president Shafie Apdal explained that Warisan was already committed to the unity government at the national level.

“We’re there with a unity government. Don’t worry about it. It is important for the country, for the people. We have already pledged our support,” said Shafie.

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Last Friday, Hajiji Noor’s position as chief minister appeared shaky after Sabah BN withdrew support.

Anwar flew in on Monday (Jan 9) to propose a unity government, since he had the support of nearly all the major parties in Sabah.

According to Shafie, Anwar met party representatives individually and the understanding was that there will be a unity government and a committee will be immediately formed to work on the details.

Once Anwar left Kota Kinabalu, alleged Shafie, Hajiji’s Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) immediately attempted to entice defections during the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

“We were supposed to have a cooling-off period and form the committee… But at 1am and 2am (after Anwar left) they are still calling (our) people, wanting to buy them over.

“Peter Anthony (Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat [KDM] president) called me and said the same,” said Shafie.

Soon after meeting Anwar, Sabah BN and Warisan issued separate statements backing the unity government proposal, but it was too late.

During the Tuesday (Jan 10) State Legislative Assembly sitting, Hajiji had Bung removed from his front bench and moved to the opposition bench.

The following day, Hajiji also removed Bung Moktar and two other BN assemblypersons from the cabinet, putting to rest any possibility of a unity government, at least for now.

Shafie alleged that there has been bad blood between Hajiji and Bung Moktar for a long time, which likely contributed to the withdrawal of support last week.

“Hajiji (once) came to see me. He said he wanted to work with me because he wanted to throw out Bung Moktar. You can ask him. I have witnesses.

“However, I didn’t want to entertain that sort of request. I said no because he was (at the time) with (Perikatan Nasional leader) Muhyiddin (Yassin) because (the latter was prime minister) without a mandate.

“Hajiji (said it) when he came to my house,” said Shafie.

However, Shafie stressed that he had no prior knowledge of Sabah BN’s intention to withdraw support for Hajiji last Friday (Jan 6).

“I only know that there was a problem between the two of them because Hajiji said it was very difficult to work with Bung Moktar.

“I didn’t want to know the details,” he said.

When asked whether it was correct for two Harapan state assemblypersons to join Hajiji’s cabinet despite the unity government failing to materialise, Shafie said that question should be posed to the duo.

“I can’t speak on their behalf. They should ask themselves whether they should follow their boss (Anwar) or should they follow their own desire to become a minister.

“Should they be eating ice cream? If they are thirsty, of course they will eat ice cream. However, whether ice cream is right for them or not, whether it was paid or not, that is another matter,” he said. – Malaysiakini