KOTA KINABALU: Two more Sabah Barisan Nasional Upko assemblymen have leaped to support the new state ruling coalition hardly 24 hours after Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was sworn in as Chief Minister.
The two had kept faith with Barisan and Tan Sri Musa Aman, even though their own party (Upko) had decided to leave Barisan on Thursday (May 10).
The two assemblyman Datuk Masiung Banah (of the Kuamut state seat) and Datuk Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu) have now leaped to support Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners DAP and PKR.
Three former Barisan parties Upko, LDP and PBRS have also declared that they intend to support this coalition.
Their move boosts the number of assemblymen in the new Sabah coalition government to 37 seats, just three seats short of a two-third majority in the 60 member state assembly.
Masiung and Limus did not abide by Upko’s initial decision to leave Barisan on Thursday (May 10). Masiung was also in the short-lived cabinet of Tan Sri Musa Aman.
But the fast-changing scenario of Sabah’s political musical chairs saw Musa losing his majority the next day (Friday, May 11).
By Saturday, May 12 at 9pm, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had sworn in Shafie, after he had shown that he now commanded the support of the majority of assemblymen.
Meanwhile, two more Umno representatives Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib and Pitas assemblyman Datuk Bolkiah Ismail, have expressed their support to the state under Shafie’s leadership.
Shafie told reporters at his Taman Golfview residence here after receiving a visit from Masiung, Limus, Ratib and Bolkiah, that they have now decided to support Warisan as they no longer have a government on the Barisan side.
This is despite Musa claiming that he is still the rightful Chief Minister and refusing to step down.
“They see no more government there, I don’t know how Musa can claim that he is still Chief Minister when all the members are out,” said Shafie, adding that he had not made his decision on the two Umno assemblymen who could possibly join his side.
Shafie said once the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had confidence that Warisan and its partners Upko, PKR and DAP had enough seats to form the state government, he had called Musa, who was sworn in as Chief Minister on Thursday (May 10) to ask for his resignation on Saturday (May 12) morning.
Musa has not stepped down yet and continues to insist that he is the Chief Minister. He even chaired the first “State Cabinet” meeting after meeting with Juhar.
When asked about Sabahans condemning the act of party hopping, especially from Umno into the opposing camp, Shafie said it was up to the assemblymen to decide whose side they wanted to be on.
Shafie also stressed that the two Upko assemblymen are not considered to be party hopping as they were merely joining Upko’s move, which is now with Warisan and its partners.
Earlier, Shafie attended his first official function as the Chief Minister.
He accompanied Juhar, who officiated the 5th Sabah FCAS (Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah) International Dragon Boat Race 2018, held at Likas Bay here.
Meanwhile, reporters have not heard of any new moves from Musa.
The last news yesterday (May 12) was of Parti Bersatu Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan announcing that it is pulling out of Barisan and that Musa is expected to join PBS.