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GRS insists Hajiji still chief minister despite Sabah BN pulling their support

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 7 — Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) secretary-general Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that Sabah Barisan Nasional’s (BN) exit from the government had not resulted in the collapse of the state government nor does it mean that Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is no longer chief minister.

He said that all Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia elected representatives who left the party in December 2022 are now directly under the GRS umbrella, including Hajiji himself; therefore, there was no question as to whether the latter’s current position is not constitutional.

“There are more than enough majority state assemblymen and GRS is the largest political party in the Sabah state assembly.

“Therefore, there is no merit to Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s allegation that Hajiji has no locus standi to be Sabah’s chief minister,” he said in a statement here.

Criticising the ongoing power tussle, Masidi said that the practice of using statutory declarations (SDs) to demonstrate or shift allegiances was taking advantage of the state Constitution.

Masidi chastised Bung for dragging the state Constitution and Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin into the political dispute as both were designed to uphold political stability and peace in the state.

“It is fundamental to Sabah’s constitutional order that the Tuan Yang Terutama is not dragged into political schemes, disputes or power struggles. I hope that certain political leaders observe this and show the TYT and his office the respect it deserves.

“Therefore, the recent practice of bringing signed statutory declarations to the Istana as evidence of the confidence of assemblymen in the state government is undesirable and should be discouraged,” he said.

His statement also clarified legal allegations that Hajiji was no longer qualified to hold the post of chief minister under Article 6 (3) and 6 (7) of the Constitution of the State of Sabah as quoted by Bung last night.

He claimed that a “majority” win does not mean “the most seats” but more than 50 per cent of the seats in the state assembly.

In the September 2020 snap state polls, Masidi said that the head of state observed that no single political party won more than 50 per cent of the state assembly seats, and thus, correctly disregarded Article 6(7) as inapplicable.

“The Tuan Yang Terutama then properly and correctly exercised his powers under Article 6(3) and appointed Hajiji as chief minister, and he was constitutionally sworn in,” he said.

Sabah is now heading into a leadership crisis following Sabah BN’s announcement last night that it was pulling out of its partnership with GRS.

The two had forged an electoral pact for the 2020 state polls, and again, for the general election last November. GRS was under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) umbrella at the time.

But Sabah BN chief Bung said that Hajiji had broken their deal by sacking Umno state assemblyman Datuk Salleh Said Keruak as Qhazanah Berhad chairman and threatened Umno with a reshuffle.

He also said that by leaving Bersatu, Hajiji had nullified their pact, which was originally with PN.

It is now unclear how much support each side has, as some Umno assemblymen were reportedly against the move and has declared support for Hajiji.