KOTA KINABALU, Aug 21 — A video purportedly showing Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal criticising ally Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and likening it to Umno has been going viral in the state.
In the two-minute video, a man resembling the Parti Warisan Sabah president is seen in casual conversation with at least two women about PPBM and is heard saying that the party is “just like Umno”, and asked why they would join the party.
A party source, who declined to be named said that they believe the video may have been taken a while ago before PPBM’s entry into Sabah and was released now as a political manoeuvre to undermine Shafie’s leadership.
In the clip, Shafie is heard saying “This Bersatu is Umno. This is politics. So why do you want to join Bersatu?”, while the woman said that they heard they will lose their voice in Warisan.
“Who is in power now? Is Hajiji in power or me?” said Shafie, referring to PPBM Sabah de facto leader Datuk Hajiji Noor, when the woman brought the subject of PPBM’s “dominance” up.
Shafie is also heard saying that he could be deputy president of PPBM if he joined when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked him to.
“But I didn’t because my aim is not going for positions,” he said, advising the women not to chase after positions in political parties.
Shafie is expected to comment on the video tomorrow.
The video is seen to be controversial due to the strenuous nature between Warisan and PPBM here after the latter reneged on an earlier promise not to set up in Sabah.
Shafie had struck an agreement with PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir for the latter to stay out of the state as they head into the 14th General Election in 2018. Warisan eventually aligned itself with the federal Pakatan Harapan government, giving them enough seats to defeat Barisan Nasional in the May 9 polls.
But after the defeat, many Umno elected representatives and members in Sabah wanted to join PPBM, claiming loss of confidence in the party’s direction. Dr Mahathir eventually announced that PPBM would open up in Sabah, to support the Warisan-led government.
Shafie then said he accepted the decision as it was within their rights to come to Sabah.
In April this year, the Sabah chapter of PPBM was launched with nine assemblymen — eight from Umno and one from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah — and five MPs.
Speaking to news portal Malaysiakini, Hajiji said that it was wrong to equate the two parties with each other.
“Bersatu is Bersatu. Umno is Umno. These are different parties with different leaders and different struggles. Those who equate the two are clueless about Bersatu’s struggle,” he was quoted saying.
Hajiji said that Shafie rose in politics under Umno, becoming vice president and a senior Cabinet minister before falling out with the then-president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in 2015, getting himself kicked out of the Cabinet and suspended from the party.
Hajiji also said he would discuss the video with Shafie if the opportunity arises.