Sabah Opposition party leaders turn on Anwar as ‘convincing majority’ evaporates

Julia Chan
·4-min read
Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (pic) main focus should not be confined merely on becoming the prime minister but on nurturing the concept of unity at the grassroot level and to end divisive politics that we see today. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (pic) main focus should not be confined merely on becoming the prime minister but on nurturing the concept of unity at the grassroot level and to end divisive politics that we see today. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 17 ― Scepticism about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claims to having a “convincing majority” of MPs to oust Perikatan Nasional (PN) from Putrajaya has turned into cynicism within the Sabah Opposition alliance.

Its three components ― Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) and DAP ― each released their own statements today that had one point in common ― a demand for change in the national Pakatan Harapan (PH) Plus leadership.

Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis who heads Warisan’s women’s wing called Wirawati echoed the earlier calls for a change in the highest echelons of the PH Plus pact, voiced by her party president, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

“Politics is about perception and if the voters think that the top leadership of the Opposition bloc lacks credibility, then obviously all of us will suffer,” she said.

She denied that her party was provoking a rift within PH Plus, saying Warisan’s concern is with the Opposition bloc’s overall performance.

Isnaraissah said Anwar’s “strong formidable and convincing majority” remarks in taking over the federal government since September and more recently the federal PH coalition’s failed tactics to defeat PN’s Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat had tarnished the credibility of the rest of the Opposition parties.

“This will cause the voters to feel disillusioned,” Munirah said.

She said that an Opposition leader’s main focus should not be confined merely on becoming the prime minister but on nurturing the concept of unity at the grassroot level and to end divisive politics that we see today.

“Unfortunately, we no longer see the enthusiasm in our current Opposition chief that he once had,” she said.

Shafie has been named as a possible contender to become the next prime minister if the incumbent Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin fails a no-confidence vote in Parliament, which has yet to happen. This would mean Anwar would have a rival.

The Warisan president has yet to indicate his stand, but there has been open discord between the two leaders.

Sabah DAP Youth chief Ginger Phoong also lashed out at Anwar in his statement tonight, saying the PKR president’s “strong, formidable and convincing” refrain was turning off Opposition supporters.

“The Opposition leader has been mocked as ‘the boy who cried wolf’. Senior politicians lying for power and extreme racial and religious comments have also been worsening lately.

“If we are sincere in rebuilding New Malaysia 2.0, we must usher in new politics now,” he said.

Phoong, who is DAP’s national youth publicity chairman, warned that all the Opposition parties seeking to win over younger non-partisan Malaysians who aspire for a better future stood to fail without a viable solution to their present-day problems.

He echoed DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu remarks that PH urgently needed a “reset”.

Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said Anwar should give up on the political games for an ouster and buckle down on crafting better alternative policies to offer Malaysians.

“In 2021, PH Plus must remake itself from being ‘number-orientated' to ‘policy-orientated’. PH Plus must boldly admit its core strategic mistake since February: focusing on recapturing federal power with defection from PN-BN’s camp,” he said.

He said the political games has prevented PH Plus from both refining and building on its policy agenda during its 22 months in power and failed to capitalise on a talent pool of 20 ministers and 19 deputy ministers.

“Worst, as the Malay proverb goes, yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran, the goal of recapturing power did not unite PH but split it even more. Our top leaders fight over who should be the next prime minister before it is anywhere near reality,” he said.

The proverb means missing what is being pursued and losing what is already in possession.

Tangau, who is Tuaran MP, called on Anwar to form a shadow Cabinet to offer Malaysians concrete policy ideas on various issues.

PKR state chairman Datuk Christina Liew was conspicuously silent about today’s rumble within PH Plus, possibly torn between her loyalty to her party and Shafie as she was a member of his state Cabinet.

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