KOTA KINABALU: The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition has garnered a simple majority in the Sabah state election, according to official results released by the Election Commission on Saturday (Sep 26) night.
The coalition, which is backed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, comprises Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) as well as other state-based parties such as Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku.
At around 12.30am on Sunday, the Election Commission confirmed that GRS component parties won 38 seats, more than half of the 73 seats in total.
Their main contenders, the Warisan Plus coalition, prevailed in 32 constituencies. Three seats went to independent candidates.
The incumbent Warisan Plus coalition comprises Parti Warisan Sabah, fellow state-based United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) as well as Pakatan Harapan (PH) national parties Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Amanah Negara.
The results mean that GRS can form the new state government and a new chief minister will be appointed to replace Warisan chief Shafie Apdal.
The polls saw multi-cornered fights in all 73 seats. A total of 447 candidates, including 56 independents, stood in the election.
Election Commission chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said in a press conference that among GRS coalition parties, PN has 17 seats, BN has 14 seats and PBS has won seven seats.
For Warisan Plus coalition parties, Warisan garnered 29 seats, PKR two seats and UPKO one seat. Three seats went to independent candidates.
Mr Abdul Ghani added that the voter turnout for the state election was 66.6 per cent.
Key GRS leaders Bung Moktar Radin and Hajiji Mohd Noor, from BN and Bersatu, won their seats in Lamag and Sulaman convincingly.
Speaking to the media at around 9.30pm, Mr Bung Moktar said: "GRS is in the midst of discussing its direction and other problems ... We promise that this government will be transparent and the people's welfare (will be) taken care of."
Mr Muhyiddin, who spoke to journalists after midnight, expressed his gratitude to the people of Sabah for "having confidence" in candidates put forth by GRS.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all GRS candidates who have been chosen to be representatives of the Sabah state assembly. This is the time for you to start your work as representatives of the people, with integrity, trustworthiness and dedication to implement what was promised in our manifesto," said Mr Muhyiddin.
The polls were conducted amid political uncertainty at the federal level, after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim announced on Wednesday that he has garnered a "strong, formidable, convincing majority" of Members of Parliament to overthrow the current government led by Mr Muhyiddin.
Mr Muhyiddin has since cast doubts over Mr Anwar’s claim, pointing out how the PKR president has not specified the MPs who were supposedly backing him.
During the course of campaigning, Mr Muhyiddin also hinted that an early 15th General Election may be held if GRS wins the Sabah polls.