KOTA KINABALU, Jan 7 — Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is to blame for the current chaos engulfing Sabah politics due to his insistence on retaining the post of chief minister after the 15th general election (GE15) despite Parti Peribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Perikatan Nasional no longer being part of the federal government.
Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said that Hajiji was now embroiled in constitutional and political crises because of his decisions and actions.
He said the chief minister is now “on his own” and with no certainty of the support of the majority of the state assembly and should resign.
“Nobody knows whether he will now command the confidence of the majority and the majority of these members have the right to choose another elected member to be the chief minister by presenting their choice to the Tuan Yang Terutama Negeri Sabah at any time,” he said.
Shafie said that there should be strict adherence to the law and Constitution, which states the leader of a political party who commands the majority of the House should hold the position of chief minister.
By that logic, Warisan, who secured the majority of seats following the 2020 snap polls, should have held the position, as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) was not a registered party or a coalition at the time.
Shafie said that any statement from Hajiji or any of his supporters from among the group of former Bersatu members to appease the people will not put to rest speculation that Hajiji’s position as chief minister is untenable.
“Making a statement to form a new political party to keep his position is not just proof of ‘party-hopping’ but a betrayal of the mandate of the people of Sabah who voted for GRS where it was led by Bersatu/Perikatan Nasional.
“We follow the law. This is the Constitution. Hajiji is not a party leader and has no party. He cannot be elected without a party. For the first time in our history, we are being led by a non-leader of a party,” said Shafie.
Shafie said it was now the prerogative of the head of state to decide whether Hajiji still had the support and locus standi to remain as chief minister.
“It is not up to me to tell him to step down. But the law is clear here,” said Shafie.
Shafie also denied speculation of any coup d’etat and said that the argument was purely based on the law.
“I sympathise with those who say that they are tired of the politicking. But this is the law, and what is wrong is wrong,” he said.
Distancing himself from the purported failed attempt to topple Hajiji last Thursday, Shafie said that friction between GRS and Saban Barisan Nasional (BN) has been going on for some time and the series of events, including Hajiji’s move to leave Bersatu, culminated in last night’s announcement by Sabah BN.
When asked whether he had met up with Umno representatives to discuss the latest developments, Shafie did not address the question directly but said Warisan was open to talks with anyone on how to solve the crisis in Sabah.
“We see how it goes. But we follow the law. If we don’t, we will go down the same road again,” he said.
“I had said at the beginning that the party with the most seats should hold the position. Warisan had the most seats. DAP had also stood on Warisan tickets. So we should have followed the law before too.”