Zahid no-show at Sabah rally amid speculation of fallout with Perikatan

Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaks in Putatan, Sabah September 24, 2020. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaks in Putatan, Sabah September 24, 2020. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 24 — Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was conspicuous by his absence from Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s (GRS) main rally where the presidents of the seven component parties contesting the Sabah state polls were scheduled to speak.

Zahid’s absence comes after an ominous statement yesterday that many Umno MPs back PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister, fuelling rumours of an imminent government toppling.

He was expected to speak at the Opposition rally in Bakut View, Putatan tonight, to campaign for Petagas candidate Datuk Seri Arsit Sedi and other GRS candidates.

An updated programme of the night’s event did not detail the speakers aside from Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Representing Umno and BN was Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Perikatan Nasional supporters listen to a campaign speech by PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyidin Yassin in Putatan, Sabah September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Perikatan Nasional supporters listen to a campaign speech by PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyidin Yassin in Putatan, Sabah September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Others who were present and spoke at the event was MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, Sabah STAR president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president Arthur Joseph Kurup and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Secretary General Datuk Jahid Jahim.

Relations within GRS have been souring for a while but were further fractured by the tussle over who to field as the chief minister for Sabah should it win the polls.

The schism took a new turn yesterday after Zahid said that many Umno MPs were supportive of Anwar as prime minister and that the party could not stop them from backing him.

He had said that Umno and BN were not technically components of PN and only supported it in Parliament.

His statement came after Anwar dropped a bombshell, claiming that he had a “strong and formidable” majority to effectively topple Muhyiddin’s government and form the next government.

However, he stopped short of revealing the numbers that he actually has.

Sabah state polls are slated to take place this Saturday, September 26.

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