No need for snap polls in Sabah, say analysts

Political observers said they expected the political situation to remain stable as the 18 Bersatu members who quit remain part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition.


Sabah Bersatu will continue to exist despite the mass exodus, Bersatu Presdient Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said. PHOTO: The Star.

December 12, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Sabah is unlikely to see a state election despite the strong political undercurrents due to the break-up of Sabah Bersatu.

Political observers said they expected the political situation to remain stable as the 18 Bersatu elected representatives who quit were still a part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition.

Lee Kuok Tiung, a professor with Universiti Malaysia Sabah, described the state government led by Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor as on a firm footing.

“So, there is not likely to be any snap election in Sabah. They are still GRS members and they contested in the last state election (in 2020) under the GRS logo,” he said.

He said the Bersatu MPs in Sabah also won under the GRS logo in GE15 held on Nov 19.

Sabah is led by the GRS-Barisan Nasional government, with GRS helmed by Hajiji and Sabah Barisan chaired by Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

Prof Lee said Sabah had not adopted any anti-hopping law, and thus the action of them leaving Bersatu was not against the law in the state.

He said for now, these former Bersatu members remained GRS members, adding that they would have to set up a new party for the long term.

Sabah political and social activist Kanul Gindol also dismissed the possibility of state polls, saying assemblymen and MPs aligned with Hajiji were all solidly behind him.

However, Gindol said it would be different if Bung Moktar embarked “on a more challenging exploration” of working closer with Parti Warisan Sabah to convince assemblymen from other parties to form a pact.

“We never know. Such are the intricacies of Sabah politics, where today’s friend may turn out to be your worst enemy tomorrow. It can happen,” he said. Sabah held snap polls in September 2020, and the current state government has three more years till 2025 to complete its term.

Officials had said that the break-up of Sabah Bersatu was due to the dilemma it faced with GRS’s support for the unity government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The federal Bersatu leadership, led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is opposing Anwar’s government, as are its Perikatan Nasional partners.

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