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Sabah Umno at crossroads: Alliance decisions loom large

Publish date: Sun, 23 Jun 2024, 02:33 PM

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno must decide on its political alliance carefully, says Universiti Teknologi Mara analyst Tony Paridi Bagang. 

Yesterday, there was a big question mark on the absence of Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin at the division meeting in Tuaran despite the party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi being present.  

The event, held at Dewan Sri Sulaman, however, saw the attendance of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Sabah Pakatan Harapan chief Datuk Christina Liew as well as Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.  

Bung, however, was present at another Umno meeting in Karambunai in the afternoon.

Tony said the situation prompted speculation and the perception of internal differences within Sabah Umno.  

Previously, it was reported that Bung had shown inclination to work with Parti Warisan by being present at the latter's events and roped in Warisan members to be in the Umno's programmes.   

In March, Bung was also reported to dismiss any possibility of Sabah Barisan Nasional-Umno working with GRS in the next state election despite the federal Barisan leadership having the final say.  

"Sabah Umno must decide on its political alliance carefully, as the national leadership closely monitors Sabah's political dynamics, particularly involving GRS and internal Umno affairs in Sabah.  

"Winning elections is the ultimate objective, necessitating a strategic partnership that ensures victory rather than standing alone or aligning with uncertain prospects," said Tony. 

As for the presence of Hajiji and Liew, the senior lecturer said it was also an indication that the political cooperation would continue for future political pacts.  

"The appearance of Hajiji exhibits his pragmatic leadership and puts people's interests at his utmost priority." 

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Associate Professor Dr Romzi Ationg also seconded that both leaders' presence might also suggest that a talk or an intention to have a discussion on a move for political collaboration was taking place.  

"Nevertheless, there might be hurdles as some leaders from any side of politics are against the collaboration for many reasons such as personal interest," he said.  

Commenting on GRS deputy chairman Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who urged more support to local-based parties to govern Sabah yesterday, Romzi said that GRS could not totally rule out the possibility of collaboration with Malaya parties. 

However, if GRS insists on having all local parties' leaders in the government, Romzi said the eight-party coalition would have to strengthen their political grips in Sabah.  

At present, the 73-state seat has 39 GRS leaders; 7 Pakatan Harapan-Upko; 14 Warisan;Umno 11; KDM 2.

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