Malaysia: Sabah government set to fall to Malaysia PM Muhyiddin’s coalition

  • Malaysia’s Sabah state is on the verge of changing governments, with assemblymen formerly loyal to chief minister Shafie Apdal expected to defect to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact helmed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
  • Well-placed sources told The Straits Times that at least 14 assemblymen have agreed to desert Datuk Seri Shafie – a staunch ally of former premier Mahathir Mohamad – and back his predecessor and rival Musa Aman instead.
  • Tan Sri Musa, who is from Umno, had been Sabah’s chief minister for 15 years before Umno’s shock defeat in the May 18 election to PH. His comeback gathered momentum after all 46 counts of graft levelled against him when PH was in power were withdrawn on 9 Jun 20.
  • Sources with knowledge of the impending changes in Sabah told ST that there had been dissent within the PN ranks as to who should head the government of the east Malaysia state, with Bersatu state chief Hajiji Noor among the front runners.
  • However, Mr Musa’s return to power must still obtain the assent of state governor Juhar Mahiruddin, a founding member of Umno in Sabah.
  • If it is clear that Mr Shafie no longer commands support of the state assembly, Tun Juhar must ask him to resign. But the Parti Warisan Sabah president can also ask the governor to call for snap polls.
  • Mr Shafie is currently backed by 45 assemblymen, or two-thirds of the 65-seat state assembly. This means the Bersatu-led opposition will need at least 13 defectors to secure power.
  • A change in Sabah could significantly impact the federal situation, where the PN government only holds a slim majority with 113 of Parliament’s 222 lawmakers. Some of the 10 Sabah MPs currently in federal opposition could be persuaded to cross the floor if PN takes over the state.

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