Rumblings of discontent in GRS ahead of GE15

More Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) elected representatives are said to be considering deserting the coalition ahead of the 15th general election (GE15) over the issue of seats and candidacies.

(FMT) – According to GRS insiders, three assemblymen are unhappy with the coalition’s decision to work with Barisan Nasional (BN). FMT is withholding their names pending comment.

Cooperation between GRS and BN will boost both coalitions’ chances of winning seats but it also means each component will likely have fewer seats than what they have hoped for.

“It doesn’t matter whether they like BN or not. However, given that GRS has five parties and it is about to welcome two or three more, the number of seats allocated to each party will be much fewer,” said a source.

“Despite working hard in their constituencies, some parties will not be given even a seat. This has caused much discontentment within the GRS ranks.”

GRS comprises Sabah Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and United Sabah National Organisation (Usno).

Besides being a coalition of political parties, the GRS constitution also allows it to accept individuals as direct members.

So far, Bandau assemblyman Wetrom Bahanda, who is an assistant minister has defected from Bersatu to join Warisan.

Chief minister and GRS chairman Hajiji Noor said Wetrom’s departure was expected because he was keen to contest the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, which had been promised to PBS, with its president Maximus Ongkili, who is the incumbent since 2004, set to defend it.

Another source claimed that it was for this same reason that the three GRS assemblymen were looking to leave the coalition.

“There are assemblymen who are looking to contest parliamentary seats but Hajiji is not allowing them to,” said the source.

However, those linked to the rumours may not actually quit GRS and join its rivals like Wetrom did.

“It is more likely that these rumours stemmed from their unhappiness, but it doesn’t mean they will actually leave.”