Analysts say Anwar’s parliamentary majority claim a fillip for Warisan’s chances in Sabah election... if true

A Parti Warisan Sabah flag is pictured in Luyang, Sabah September 14, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A Parti Warisan Sabah flag is pictured in Luyang, Sabah September 14, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KOTA KINABALU, Sept 23 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political bombshell on having parliamentary majority, enough for a federal government takeover, would be a huge boost for the Warisan Plus election campaign in Sabah, several political analysts said today.

However, all three who spoke to Malay Mail said their forecast is only if the PKR president can show the MPs he claims now supports the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, which is partnering Warisan in Sabah.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah political analyst Zaini Othman likened Anwar’s announcement to an “atomic bomb” on the state poll, saying it will likely improve Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s chances at keeping the state under Warisan control.

“I’m not too sure of the intentions behind the announcement but it is intended to create an atomic bomb effect that will force some quick thinking and take things up another level when influencing voters,” said Zaini when contacted.

“To an extent, it will have a boost in Warisan’s fight in this election, due to PKR’s being part of the Warisan government, it should definitely help the campaign,” he added.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said that the logical move would be for Shafie to throw his support behind Anwar now.

“If Anwar can prove he commands the majority, it is almost certain Shafie can win this election.

“This is especially because the KDM seats are still split, because of their concerns with matters on Sabah rights and lack of development if they do not support the federal government,” he said.

KDM stands for the Kadazandusun Murut community, which is largely non-Muslim Bumiputera.

The Warisan Plus coalition consists of Parti Warisan Sabah, DAP, PKR, Amanah and Upko. They have been fighting the argument that the state needs federal support in order to keep up with development in the peninsula.

Jeniri Amir, a senior fellow at the National Professor Council, similarly said that the announcement will have a major impact on the Sabah election, but qualified it on Anwar proving his assertion.

“If definite, it will have far-reaching implications.

“No doubt it will be favourable to Warisan. Not just Warisan will be impacted but even those in Bersatu and Umno will be hastily realigning their positions,” he said.

Agreeing that the announcement was designed for shock value, UiTM lecturer Tony Paridi Bagang said the advantage would be to Warisan Plus in addition to seeing allegiances being switched around at the national level.

“It is possible we will see more negotiations between Anwar and Muhyiddin too, now that friction between PN and BN, which started before the state polls, has just intensified with the battle to win more seats to name the chief minister,” he said.

On whether there was potential for sabotage in the announcement, Jeniri said it was imperative that Anwar has Sabah’s and Sarawak’s support for the convincing majority he claimed to have.

“It’s important Anwar gets Warisan support for the concrete majority he claims to have. So long as it is a slim majority, it is risky also. To ensure a win, I think Anwar will have to compromise and come to an amicable agreement,” he said.

Jeniri contended it was entirely possible that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), the ruling coalition in Malaysia’s largest state, would turn to Anwar now, if the terms were favourable to it.

“To get the numbers, you need support from them, they have 18 MPs. Without them, it is easy to fall. And GPS is free to support any government. It’s quite possible, GPS can be kingmaker now. What matters is the deal they make with Anwar,” the Sarawak-based academic said.

Anwar claimed earlier today that he has more than “four, five or six” MP majority to wrest the federal government from Perikatan Nasional under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Anwar said that he would be meeting the King soon to present the names of the new supporters. The Agong is currently undergoing treatment at the National Heart Institute.

Malay Mail also reported today that GPS is considering severing ties with the Perikatan Nasional federal government over continuous friction and politicking, most recently over the Petronas deal as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).


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