KOTA KINABALU, July 22 — Several Sabah DAP elected representatives have claimed they were offered deputy chief minister posts and up to RM15 million in cash to defect to Perikatan Nasional (PN) and form the government.
In a press conference today, the elected representatives shared their experiences of being supposedly “shopped” by middlemen to the federal government, in the hopes of toppling the Warisan-led state government.
“Efforts have been going on for months now, and in some cases, they have intensified. I’ve been contacted by at least seven different people now and they have even come to my office. They ask me how much it will take to jump, and said they can give me a deputy chief minister post,” said Likas assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt.
Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Ginger Phoong also said he was called by a young Chinese man and was offered the deputy chief minister’s post.
“He said I could be offered the post because I already have a minister’s post. He also said he could directly link me to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, but of course, I am not stupid, and I didn’t believe him.
Phoong said that Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong had also told them of his experience, and he too was offered the same post.
Wong, however, could not attend the press conference today, as he was recovering from an illness. His son, Jack, had sent a message to the party informing them of his father’s condition.
Other DAP representatives who were approached were Kapayan assemblyman Jannie Lasimbang, who said three men came to her house in Penampang last night on the pretext of being her constituents.
“They said that the state government would not survive, and they asked me to join them. I was so insulted and offended that I cursed them and told them to stop disrupting the government from doing their work. It is so wrong for them to come to my house, where my children and I live and proposition me like this,” she said.
Lasimbang lodged a police report and hoped that the police would take action against the men, who she said identified themselves as representatives of a former senior Sabah Umno politician’s son.
“The same men, one of them who is familiar to me, also visited my sister, Moyog assemblyman Jenifer Lasimbang with offers of a minister post and money. It is unlawful and corrupt and this culture needs to be stopped,” she said.
Elopura assemblyman Calvin Chong said that a man dropped by his house at 6am this morning after calling him at 5am.
“I was shocked that he knew exactly where I lived. I fear for my safety and that of my family now. How can they go to such lengths? Please leave me alone. I am loyal to the party struggle and to the Warisan government,” he said.
Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin and Tenom MP Noorita Sual also said they had been approached by people in the past.
“This culture of shopping for Aduns and MPs need to stop. This is not a shopping mall and we are not for sale. It is immoral and unethical,” he said.
Sabah DAP chairman Frankie Poon said that they wholeheartedly condemned the culture of buying assemblymen and would not bow to the pressure.
“Enough is enough, stop wasting time on us. We started as the Opposition and struggled as Opposition. We were given the mandate to serve here and we will not betray this mandate,” he said.
Most of Sabah DAP’s elected representatives attended the press conference in person today aside from Wong, and appointed assemblyman Ronnie Loh. Phoong said Loh was replying to messages so they have “no reason to be suspicious.”
Poon said today’s press conference was in response to the increasingly blatant moves by the Opposition amidst fresh rumours of a state government toppling.
Several leaders like Kota Kinabalu MP Chan, Tenom MP Noorita and Sandakan MP Vivian Wong, and also Elopura assemblyman Chong were present at the press conference via Zoom.
A report in The Star Online claimed the state Opposition, led by former Barisan Nasional state chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman is close to securing a simple majority following the purported agreement by several elected representatives to align themselves with it.
Rumours have been rampant on social media of defections and a new state government with Musa at the helm.
Warisan’s secretary general Loretto Padua Jr was reported denying rumours and said the party was still intact.
The state Opposition, comprising Umno, PPBM, STAR and PBS need about 13 more seats to attain a simple majority in the 65-seat state assembly.