PBS: Unbecoming for Sabah’s ‘political bandits’ to back unity govt after failed coup

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 — It is “shameful” of the “political bandits” who had recently tried to attempt a coup against Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor to now ask to be part of the new government, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.

Ongkili, whose PBS is part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) ruling coalition, described the three parties — Umno, Parti Warisan and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (PKDM) — as “power-hungry political bandits” who had created the “disturbance” for their own political gain.

“The effort by the three groups of ‘political bandits’ to sing a song supporting the principle of unity government espoused by the prime minister now sounds ridiculous.

“It is rather a shame for these politicians to sing a different tune so that they would be included into the newly formed administration after their previous attempt to dislodge the chief minister failed.

“Isn’t it a shameful political ploy that after failing to dislodge the chief minister and his government, you suddenly want to be invited to be part of the government?” he asked.

Ongkili, who was the former minister for Sabah and Sarawak affairs, said that he hoped the “cooling off period” called by Umno president and deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is welcomed to strengthen political unity and solidarity in the state.

He said that PBS hoped that the situation could now be resolved for the sake of the state.

“In politics, the principle of give and take, especially for the sake of the rakyat is always premium, even if such decisions go against our emotions and inner beings,” said Ongkili pointing out that it was not easy to accept their political nemesis such as the DAP and Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“So, for us among the political partners in GRS, we had to swallow our pride and forgive and try to forget the past for the sake of Sabahans unity, what more when such a call for unity and solidarity was commanded by the Agong.

“We must enhance all the new initiatives of solidarity exemplified by the chief minister of Sabah, and stop the nonsense of political disturbance caused by power-hungry leaders as shown by Umno in the past.”

Ongkili called out Sabah Umno for its part in the crisis, saying that the party had not complained in the last two years about the running of the state administration.

“But suddenly they wanted to dislodge the chief minister with the help from Opposition parties?” he said.

Ongkili noted that Hajiji could have chosen a respectable path if he was unable to keep the majority in the state assembly, which was to go back to the people at the grassroots and call for a premature state election.

“But he did not want Sabahans to go through another round of election. Enough is enough,” he said.

Sabah had its state elections in September of 2020.

Ongkili said that Hajiji now had political support in the State Assembly by way of statutory declarations and hoped it would put to rest any attempt by the three groups to replace the state leadership.

His statement today comes following Ahmad Zahid’s statement yesterday calling for a cooling off period while they try to mend relations between the former allies who were part of the ruling government from the 2020 state polls.

The political crisis was triggered in early January when Umno and Parti Warisan, and possibly PKDM, nearly toppled Hajiji but did not have the numbers from PH.

Sabah BN chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin later announced the party’s decision to sever ties with GRS on January 6.

However, Hajiji managed to secure a 44-seat majority in the 79-member state assembly, enabling him to hold on to the position, with the help of PH, and some Umno dissidents.

Zahid had said that he was taking personal initiative to resolve the issue.