KOTA KINABALU, Jan 10 — A new reshuffled state Cabinet will be sworn in at the Istana Negeri tomorrow amidst confusion of whether a unity government will be formed involving all Sabahan parties as proposed by prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
A source close to the chief minister confirmed that the swearing-in ceremony was scheduled but declined to give details.
A written invitation from the palace to a state assemblymen was also sighted by Malay Mail to witness a swearing-in ceremony of the state Cabinet tomorrow at 10am, with attendance required as early as 9.10am.
A letter from the state government signed by the state secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong inviting some assemblymen to the swearing in ceremony was also making its rounds in WhatsApp groups in Sabah.
However, most of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah leaders have been mum on the ceremony while Sabah Umno and Parti Warisan members are in the dark.
The new Cabinet line-up has not been announced, but it is believed to include up to two Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen — PH state chief Datuk Christina Liew and DAP state chairman Datuk Frankie Poon were slated to be given appointments as ministers.
The new line-up is expected to drop Sabah Umno chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin, who was deputy chief minister cum works minister, his deputy Datuk Yakubah Khan, who was minister of science, technology and innovation and Sabah Umno secretary Datuk Jafry Arifin, who was tourism, culture and environment minister.
Replacing Bung should be Tanjung Keramat assemblyman Datuk Shahelmy Yahya, previously community development and people’s wellbeing minister, who is slated to take over the works ministry profile.
Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib, formerly an assistant minister for the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, might also be given a new portfolio.
Anwar, in a meeting with Sabah leaders last night, had apparently mooted a unity government involved GRS, PH, Umno, Warisan and KDM in order to stabilise the state. The proposal was also supported by BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Bung, Parti Warisan chief Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as well as Parti Kesejahteraan Demoktratik Masyarakat president Datuk Peter Anthony were in support of the proposal in order to have stability.
But chief minister Datuk Hajiji Noor has not indicated willingness to reconcile with Umno, following the public withdrawal of support by Bung last Friday night.
Hajiji technically has majority support from 44 assemblymen, which is more than half of the 79-seat House. The 44 includes GRS, seven elected representatives from PH, five from Umno as well as one each from PAS, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah and one independent.
Bung’s Umno, Warisan and KDM together have some 35 assemblymen.