KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Monday (Jan 9) said that he has given his blessings to Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor to remain in his role.
Speaking to reporters late on Monday night, Mr Anwar stressed that he wants the Sabah state government to remain strong under Mr Hajiji’s leadership.
He was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail that he and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have given their views on the political situation in the Borneo state.
“Yes, I am giving my blessings to Hajiji. We have given our views. We want Sabah to be strong under Hajiji. Give him the space to discuss and find a good formula for Sabah,” said Mr Anwar.
Mr Anwar and Ahmad Zahid met with Mr Hajiji at the chief minister’s official residence in Sri Gaya following the prime minister’s first official overseas visit to Jakarta.
Prior to the meeting with Mr Hajiji and representatives of the state government bloc at Sri Gaya, Mr Anwar had a discussion with Sabah state leaders at the Magellan Club in Kota Kinabalu.
According to The Star, the closed-door discussion was attended by Mr Hajiji, Sabah’s Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Bung Moktar and Parti Warisan president Shafie Apdal.
He then told the media that the solution to Sabah's political crisis lies in the hands of the state leaders themselves.
Mr Anwar added that what he and other leaders could do was only to offer advice on seeking a solution to the political impasse.
While describing the current situation as “improving”, Mr Anwar was quoted as saying by Bernama that he - along with Ahmad Zahid - were trying their best to look for the best solution to resolve the political situation.
“The current situation is improving, Zahid and I are looking for the best solution for Sabah, and the decision is made by Sabah leaders themselves, we can only provide advice,” said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman.
SABAH PARTIES LEADERS SUPPORT PM’S UNITY GOVT PROPOSAL FOR SABAH
On Tuesday, Mr Bung Moktar and Mr Shafie both declared their support for the prime minister’s suggestion of a unity government to be formed in the state.
Mr Bung said that he welcomed the suggestion by Mr Anwar to have a unity government at the state level that involves all political parties.
"I believe and am confident that this unity government will 'calm the political temperature' and after that, stabilise current state politics.
"I am also hoping that Mr Hajiji will accept the suggestion by the prime minister for the people's well-being,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Separately, a special state assembly session will be held on Tuesday, with Bernama reporting that all state assemblymen attending the meeting are expected to approve and gazette the state bills for gas supply.
The tabling of the Gas Supply Bill 2023 will see the setting up of an energy commission in the state in order to take over all the regulatory power for onshore gas supply there, Malay Mail reported.
United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Warisan assemblymen, however, will not be attending the special state assembly.
Mr Bung was quoted by local media as saying that most of the UMNO state assemblymen were flying to Kuala Lumpur to attend the party’s general assembly.
Separately, Mr Shafie was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail that Warisan’s absence “illustrates the need to set up a special committee as soon as possible to decide on the leadership in the unity government”.
The two party leaders, however, said that they fully support the Bill and expect it to be passed.
On Jan 6, the state government that was led by the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition collapsed after BN withdrew its support for the chief minister.
Mr Bung Moktar announced that he had pulled the party’s state assemblymen from the 27-month-old coalition government. UMNO is the lynchpin party of BN.
According to Bernama, he said that the decision to withdraw support was made due to a loss of confidence in the leadership of chief minister Hajiji Noor.
Since then, the embattled Mr Hajiji has insisted that he has the support of 44 out of 79 assemblymen, giving him enough seats to continue as chief minister.
Malaysian media had previously reported that out of the 44 assemblymen in support of Mr Hajiji, 29 are GRS members, seven are from PH, five from BN, one from the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), one from Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah and one from the independent bloc.
A minimum of 40 seats is needed for any party or coalition to obtain a simple majority in order to form the state government.