Sabah UMNO, BN withraw support to Hajiji as Sabah Chief Minister – Bung Moktar
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 7 — Sabah UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) announced that they are withdrawing their support towards Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor as Chief Minister tonight.
Sabah UMNO liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also state BN chariman, said the stand decided at the party meeting here tonight was made because of a loss in confidence in Hajiji’s position as Chief Minsiter, in addition to breach of agreement between BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
Bung Moktar said BN and PN implemented an agreement to form the state government following the Sabah state elections in 2020, but Hajiji and other leaders of Sabah Bersatu, which is a component of PN, left the party, causing the state government to lose its legitimacy.
“Hajiji also threatened us with a Cabinet reshuffle without any discussion. We have also lost confidence after Hajiji lost his locus standi, and qualifications to be selected as Sabah Chief Minister.
“According to the Sabah state constitution, the chief minister must be chosen from a party with the majority. He (Hajiji) is without a party, his standing is under GRS, which is a grad coalition party,” he said in a media conference at Sabah UMNO Building in Karamunsing here tonight.
Bung Moktar said the agreement between BN and PN to form the state government mentioned the appointment of state Cabinet members and state government-linked companies from UMNO or BN.
“Today Hajiji, besides announcing the Cabinet reshuffle without discussion, also terminated Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak (BN assemblyman for Usukan) as Qhazanah Sabah Berhad chairman without negotiations with the Sabah BN chairman,” he said.
Bung Moktar added that he would seek an audience with Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to carry out his function as a state leader to review Hajiji’s appointment as Chief Minister.
On whether the decision was supported by all Sabah BN assemblymen, he admitted that five out of 18 of them did not support the decision, but did not name the five.
“We act based on the party, even though the assemblymen does not support it, to me, that’s fine because the party’s decision is final and we will take whatever stern action, including disciplnary action against assemblymen who chose not to support the decisions of the party,” he added.
Bung Moktar also said that he would inform Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim about the decision soon.
He also did not reject the possibility of working with any party, when asked about the party’s plans in Sabah, including the possibility of working with Parti Warisan.
“We can work with any party as long as they are sincere,” he said, adding that they were not adverse to being involved with the transitioning of the state goverment, but noted that it would depend on the Yang Dipertua Negeri.
The Sabah state assembly has 79 assemblymen, 73 elected and six appointed.
With the withdrawal of support from Sabah UMNO and BN, the current Sabah state government led by Hajiji now has the support of 41 assemblymen, 29 from GRS, PH (seven), Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (three), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (one) and an independent.
Warisan has 19 seats while PAS has one seat.