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KOTA KINABALU, Sept 28 — The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah alliance today unanimously agreed on Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Noor as its chief minister candidate.
Hajiji, who is the Sulaman assemblyman, made the announcement at a press conference today at the Magellan Sutera Resort.
“Yes, GRS has unanimously picked me as the chief minister,” he said to loud applause from supporters.
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after leaders of GRS had been at a stalemate following a day of negotiations with Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to select a chief minister.
“We were told the swearing-in will be held tomorrow morning,” he said when asked whether the Istana has confirmed the ceremony.
“I think we will only go tomorrow morning. No need to go again today,” he said.
State Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who was said to also be in the running for the position, conceded that the compromise was needed for the greater good of the coalition.
“I believe after this, Hajiji as the new chief minister will be sworn-in and we can start work again to ensure the rakyat will receive the attention they need,” he said.
The informal GRS had been deadlocked for 36 hours following the results of the 16th State Polls that came in just before midnight on September 26.
GRS’s three components — PN, BN and PBS — collectively won 38 seats while the Warisan Plus coalition and its allies won 32 seats; three independents were also voted in.
The tussle over the CM’s post left the state waiting to find out the identity of the leader who will govern the state for the next five years.
Today, Hajiji thanked the people for the mandate and said he would do his best to fulfil the aspirations of the people in accordance with the GRS manifesto.
“We will do our best to ensure Sabah moves forward and gets to protect the people’s interests. We will do our best to fulfil the responsibility bestowed upon us,” he said.