Warisan president Shafie Apdal says the results of the three recent state elections have clearly shown that the people wanted a change in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership.
He said PH could not ignore the heavy losses inflicted in last year’s Melaka and Sarawak polls as well as the recent Johor state elections.
Warisan had also lost all six seats it contested last Saturday in Johor.
“It is quite clear the people on the ground want change, particularly in the leadership,” he told reporters at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport here today after returning from Johor.
In his speech during the Warisan annual general meeting in 2020, Shafie had said that the opposition would fail at the next general election if the same old leaders remained at the helm.
The former Sabah chief minister said he had tried playing peace broker to unite former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim but that did not materialise.
“So, we let PH contest in Melaka and Sarawak without any interference. But I don’t think the choice (for the people) was there.”
Barisan Nasional won 40 of the 56 seats in the Johor state elections. PH and PKR only grabbed 12 seats, Perikatan Nasional three and Muda one.
Meanwhile, Shafie said opposition unity is important if it wanted to have any chances of winning in the next general election, adding the friendly clashes had cost them dearly in the Johor polls.
“It is clear that there needs to be an (opposition) alliance to strengthen ourselves in elections.
“But it doesn’t mean an alliance can guarantee victory.
“We have to see who we align with and which candidates to put up. PH still could not secure victory despite placing prominent figures (in the Johor elections),” he said.
The Semporna MP said it also did not help that PH had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government, pointing out this was akin to “giving bullets to people to shoot us”.
“When you give them bullets, they can strengthen themselves. And then you say you gave them that for the sake of the country and people?
“This is for political survival. You can see how we were weakened (by the MoU). But I don’t want to talk about the past; let’s just move forward.”
Shafie said what was important now was what the opposition can offer to the people to address their concerns on issues of democratic practices and governance.
On Warisan contesting for the first time in the peninsula, he said despite losing, the party had not been entirely rejected by the people in Johor.
He admitted that Warisan is still seen as a “party from Sabah”. Such sentiments were played up by Barisan Nasional and even fellow opposition parties.
“But many of our leaders are from West Malaysia and, in fact, many more have gotten in touch with us, such as former top leaders from MIC and MCA, including my friend, a former MCA president,” Shafie said.
Warisan had contested the Mahkota, Bekok, Pekan Nanas, Permas, Johor Jaya and Bukit Batu seats in Johor. – FMT