Opposition starts to lose footing in Sabah

Many in Sabah are probably not surprised by these political occurrences, particularly where PKR is concerned as even at the onset, Sabah PKR was already fraught with dissension among its ranks.

New Sabah Times

The outcome looks bleak for the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) if it should deem to contest in Sabah in the next general elections.

Two of its component parties in the state, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP have lost key leaders after they decided to quit last weekend.

Pajudin Nordin, formerly the Sabah PKR chief announced his decision to ditch the party on Saturday and a day later, 10 DAP leaders in Tawau followed suit.

These latest developments clearly showed that PR has difficulty broadening its influence in Sabah and has dispelled any hope of forming the next state government in the 13th general election.

What is interesting to note is that both Pajudin and James Leong, who led the DAP exodus in Tawau, chose to join PR’s nemesis, the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Pajudin opted to be a member of Umno while Leong chose Gerakan.

Many in Sabah are probably not surprised by these political occurrences, particularly where PKR is concerned as even at the onset, Sabah PKR was already fraught with dissension among its ranks.

The State Liaison Chief often changed apparently due to dissatisfaction over the manner in which the leadership dealt with issues related to Sabah.

Pajudin, 42, was barely Sabah PKR Liaison Chief for a month when he decided to quit.

He was appointed to the post on Jan 10, this year to replace Ahmad Tamrin Jaini.

At a press conference in Sri Gaya, the official residence of the Chief Minister, last Saturday, Pajudin said he was disappointed by PKR de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife, party president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who both failed to take seriously the problems in Sabah.

“Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim always said that he respected the rights of Sabah but his manner show otherwise,” he said.

Two days after his resignation as state leadership council chairman, PKR formed a body named the PKR Presidential Council to lead the party at the state level in the interim.

The council has been entrusted to produce an election manifesto for the Sabah PKR.

“The document will list the policies and promises of Sabah PKR in dealing with issues close to the people of Sabah encompassing politics, economics and social aspects,” said Dr Wan Azizah.

PR hit another stumbling block when DAP leaders in Tawau abandoned the party to join Gerakan on Sunday.

Leong, formerly chief of publicity for Tawau DAP, said they were compelled to act after realising the party failed to bring any development during their three years with DAP.

Leong even declared that he was impressed by the 1Malaysia concept introduced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The move by these former leaders of the opposition to join a bigger and safer ship indicate their confidence and trust in the leadership of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.

Musa, the BN chairman for Sabah, said the trend in which opposition leaders are leaving their parties one by one, indicate that PKR and PR are no longer relevant in Sabah and the country in general.

He said they have come to realise that the opposition parties are not able to bring any benefit to the people of Sabah.

On whether this has boosted Sabah Umno’s confidence in the face of the general elections, Musa, who is also Sabah Umno chief, said the party was always ready for the elections because it worked hard to serve the rakyat.

Meanwhile, Sabah BN secretary, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan described Sabah PKR as being in critical condition after Pajudin’s departure.

He said the crisis in the state liaison body was a slap for PKR leader, Anwar and a hindrance to his quest in wresting the government from BN.

After these developments, the question is whether there will be anymore mass departures from the opposition parties especially amid increasing speculations that the next general elections will be held this year.