Split votes in Sabah cost Opposition up to nine seats

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 20 — Split votes by the Opposition in some nine out of the 13 seats won by the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-Barisan Nasional alliance in Sabah has possibly costed the opposition more seats.

Based on the number of votes, clashes between Pakatan Harapan and Warisan in six seats had given the GRS-BN the advantage to take the seat amidst some tight races while Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat had played a significant role in three seats.

The fallout between PH and Warisan saw both turning out losers with PH picking up five seats from its previous six, and Warisan going from six to just three. Warisan had contested in all 25 seats while PH contested in 24.

Clashes between PH and Warisan saw them losing their own seats in Putatan and Tawau, both with PH incumbents, Kalabakan (Warisan incumbent) and Batu Sapi, which was held by Warisan before the late Datuk VK Liew’s death.

The opposition could have had won the seats of Libaran, Kimanis, Sipitang, Keningau and Beaufort if not for their clashes.

In Keningau and Beaufort, Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat played a significant role in the split.

In last night's results, BN took seven seats while its allies GRS took six. PH took five, Warisan took three, PN and PKDM each took one and two independents won a seat each.

Sabah DAP leader Chan Foong Hin, expressing regret that PH and Warisan were not working together, said Shafie was to blame for PH’s failure to form government.

"I think we could achieve so much more together as allies” he said, adding he still could not understand the rationale for Warisan wanting to go against PH in GE15.

Speaking to the media last night, he pointed out that Warisan deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking had announced just before election day that the party’s choice for cooperation would be PH, rather than BN or GRS.

"What was the point of this civil war then? There is no clear objective. It was so unnecessary. If Pakatan Harapan cannot get into Putrajaya, then the blame is on Warisan,” added Chan.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said that there was no point in assigning blame now.

"Everyone wants o blame us for their losses. PH, BN and PN all blame us for not joining them. The blame game will always be part of political dynamics. But we have to look at the desire on the group, its not just about pleasing them.

"But I can also say the same about Pakatan. We could’ve won a few more seats too if not for them contesting in seats such as Penampang,” Shafie said during a press conference today.

Sabah analyst Tony Paridi Bagang said that Warisan’s decision to go solo in this election costed them.

"People were expecting Warisan to work with PH rather than go it alone. Many were torn by the two opposition forces, and in the end, the wave for PH played a role too. As Warisan was a local party, people saw them as playing opportunist politics, perceiving them to have no real chance,” he said.

Bagang also said that Warisan also suffered from ongoing stigma of being associated to the migrant community.

In 2018, Warisan and PH had teamed up into an alliance which saw them take 14 seats altogether, ahead of BN’s 10. They also formed the Warisan Plus state government.

A defeat during the snap polls in 2020 saw them parting ways, with Shafie alleging that DAP and PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did not hold up their end of the deal.

Shafie went into GE15 campaigning for Sabahans to support a local based party, with a slogan of resetting Sabah.