KOTA KINABALU: Six Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen on Friday crossed over to Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) which now puts the party in a position to form the new government in the state.
Four are from UMNO namely Datuk Abdul Muis Picho (Sebatik), Datuk Hamisa Samat (Tanjung Batu), Datuk Osman Jamal (Balung) and Jamawi Jaafar (Kemabong).
The others are from United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO). They are Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian) and Datuk Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan).
Confirming this, Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said all six came over of their own free will. “With this development, Warisan and Pakatan Harapan which had 29 seats now have the majority to form the new government,” he told a press conference here.
Present were UPKO acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and five of the assemblymen. Osman was not present.
Mohd Shafie said Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had been informed that the new number (of seats) qualified Warisan along with DAP, PKR and UPKO to form the new state government.
“Tun (Juhar) himself had called up the individuals concerned and asked whether they supported the party (Warisan),” he said, adding that it paved the way for the swearing-in ceremony.
He said that he hoped this would be respected by all quarters because the process of forming the new state government conformed to the law.
He added that Sabah had gone down this road many times.
“For example, UMNO took over the administration of Sabah from Parti Bersatu Sabah led by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (when PBSdid not have enough seats), I myself sent the letter (UMNO had enough seats to form the government) to the Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri then.
“Tun sent a letter and immediately Pairin became aware that he had lost the majority and immediately resigned which enabled Tun Sakaran Dandai to be sworn in as the chief minister,” he said, adding that he hoped Juhar would speed up the process (swearing in of the new chief minister).
Asked about the possibility of more BN assemblymen joining Warisan, Mohd Shafie did not dismiss it saying he was “getting a lot of calls”.
Meanwhile, Madius said UPKO’s decision to join Warisan and Pakatan Harapan was in the best interest of the people of Sabah.
“I believe all UPKO members including three others who won in the election on Wednesday will come on board as well,” he said.
Ewon, meanwhile, said the decision by UPKO’s top leadership (to forge an alliance with Warisan and Pakatan Harapan) should be heeded as it was in the best interest of the party.
“I have always complied with whatever decision taken by the party, and I have met the TYT and he has been informed on my stand that I am loyal to UPKO,” he said.
Muis said the decision was apt because state-federal cooperation was important for the people and it would be difficult to achieve this if they were on opposing sides.
Hamisa and Jamawi shared similar views.