Musa’s presence on campaign trail sets rumour mill alight with comeback talk

Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman speaks while campaigning in Kiulu September 18, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman speaks while campaigning in Kiulu September 18, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KOTA KINABALU, Sept 21 — Despite claiming he has retired, former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman’s presence on the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) campaign trail is spurring rumours that he is well on his way to a comeback.

After showing up at some 12 rallies across Sabah, Musa has been in high spirits as he addresses crowd after crowd, beginning with a surprise visit to Beaufort where Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was attending an event.

He then showed up in Kiulu to stump for PBS candidate Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and Perikatan Nasional’s Sulaman candidate Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor; Nabawan for PN candidate Datuk Abdul Ghani Yassin; and Bingkor, also for PN candidate Robert Tawik, over the weekend.

Today he campaigned for PBS candidate in Limbahau Datuk Johny Mositun, PN candidate in Kawang Datuk Ghulam Khan, Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Petagas and Tanjung Keramat candidates Datuk Arsit Sedi and Shahelmy Yahya, and BN’s Tanjung Aru candidate Mohd Reduan Aklee.

It is believed that today’s last two campaigns are the first time he has campaigned for BN, following his statement on Instagram two days ago that he would hopefully canvas for all GRS candidates.

“This is the 12th rally I’ve been to and everywhere I go, the welcome has been rousing, showing that people want a change of government,” he said in a short statement to the media after the Tanjung Keramat rally.

He refused to take any questions from reporters.

Earlier, Musa said that he had retired and was campaigning for the younger candidates.

“Me and Datuk Yahya, we have retired, we are no longer contesting to make way for the new generation of young leaders,” he said in his speech.

However, political observers say that Musa’s presence is deliberate and he has the support of as many as 17 candidates, including Independents, and those already in other parties who will later back him when the time comes.

Musa and the federal Umno leadership’s relations are believed to be strained following a failed coup attempt against the Sabah state government, which triggered these snap polls.

It later further fractured when Musa was dropped as a candidate from Sungai Sibuga where he is a six-term state assemblyman, in favour of a first-time candidate, later leading to an internal fight within Umno as well as rivalry with PN for the chief minister post.

Musa had on July 29 claimed that he had a simple majority support of 33 seats in the 65-seat Sabah Assembly, which allowed him to form government.

However, State Governor Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had instead allowed then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to dissolve the assembly and pave the way for the snap polls.

Musa today reiterated that he should not be blamed for triggering the polls, which came amid the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic slump.

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