With Warisan going solo, Sabah PH seen as biggest loser in GE15

An analyst foresees Sabah Pakatan Harapan coming out as the biggest loser in the Borneo state in the coming general election now that Warisan has said it will not work with the opposition coalition.

(FMT) – Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said Warisan would be stronger than Sabah PH, except in urban Chinese-majority areas currently dominated by DAP.

He told FMT that PKR had grown weaker after GE14 and Amanah had never really established itself in Sabah.

Lee said a four-way battle was possible in the state if Warisan were to stick to its decision to go solo and Sabah Barisan Nasional failed to reach a consensus with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

In such a situation, PH would come out worst among the four, he said

“Currently, Warisan, GRS and BN look equally strong but the advantage will be with Warisan if GRS and BN fail to team up,” Lee said.

“GRS and BN don’t have to be greedy in seat negotiations because they know their strengths and weaknesses. Most important, they don’t have strong candidates for all 25 seats. Hence, it’s better for them to work together.”

Lee also said the timing of GE15 would have a huge effect on the outcome of the polls, adding that he saw BN getting weaker and PH getting stronger at the national level.

“In Sabah, GRS is getting more and more popular,” he added.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs also expects Warisan to sweep most Muslim-Bumiputera seats on the east coast and BN to take those in the west and interior.

He told FMT he expected Warisan and PH to dominate contests in Chinese-majority areas, adding that a clash between the two could work in GRS or BN’s favour.

“For non-Muslim Bumiputera seats, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), within GRS, are likely to sweep most of the interior ones, while PH and BN may make some inroads in suburban ones,” he said.

PBS and STAR are component parties of GRS, along with Sabah Bersatu, the Sabah Progressive Party and United Sabah National Organisation.

Last month, Warisan president Shafie Apdal said the party had identified its candidates for all 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah, one in Labuan and several in the peninsula.

The former Sabah chief minister said the party did not want to waste any more time on working out political alliances.

While expressing regret over Warisan’s decision, Sabah DAP chief Frankie Poon said his party would continue with efforts to strengthen the opposition coalition in the state.