OCTOBER 22 ― Parti Warisan Sabah could be the Leicester City of Malaysian politics if Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal uses Claudio Ranieri’s simple yet effective approach en route to victory.
By keeping things simple, going back to basics and putting in a whole load of hard work, the Semporna MP’s party could just be the pick-me-up Malaysians need in a time of gloom.
In under a month, Shafie’s renamed party in Sabah has arguably created more of a storm throughout the country than Tun Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has in Peninsula Malaysia.
And the formula Shafie has adopted is similar to that of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City last season.
He has taken folks from various parties who have not been given the recognition they probably deserve and is slowly forming a team to bring a new brand of politics into the arena. One that does not question the colour of your skin or religious belief.
Parti Warisan Malaysia has immediately changed the ballngame by differentiating itself from its rivals, unlike Bersatu who till now, is vying for a similar electorate as ruling party Umno.
And like Ranieri in 2004, Shafie was set aside by his former party yet he hasn’t gone on moaning about it.
Instead, he has got to work and opted for a change of tactic in order to rejig the face of Malaysian politics.
Warisan member Darell Leiking has spoken of reinventing Sabah’s education system as a means of developing their economy by advancing the way of thinking in the state.
Fellow member Junz Wong too wants to get youths on Warisan’s side by asking them to take ownership of their state after playing third fiddle to Peninsula Malaysia and Sarawak since 1963.
And this is key.
Sabah needs to be elevated to equal standing with all states in Malaysia. They have been marginalised for far too long and Shafie Apdal realises it.
While conventional thinking would point to it being an impossible task, Leicester City proved last season that heart, desire and rational thinking more than makes up for the lack of financial muscle or the biggest names in football.
Claudio Ranieri managed to instill a work ethic never seen before in Premier League football.
The Italian even rang the imaginary “dilly ding, dilly dong“ bell in training anytime his players performed below par and got complacent.
And complacency is just as dangerous in politics.
Those tactics by Ranieri brought out the best in Leicester City’s triumvirate of Riyad Mahrez, N’golo Kante and Jamie Vardy.
It has been called the greatest underdog story of all.
In fact, the traditional big guns in the Barclays Premier League are still reeling from last season’s shock.
But in the likes of Darell Leiking, Junz Wong and others, Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah can certainly muster a similar team to cause an upset in Sabah.
And when the going gets tough, he can call on Claudio Ranieri for some advice.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.