What big tent: Shafie pooh-poohs coalitions for bringing nothing to Sabah
Forming alliances kills parties, does not strengthen them, says Warisan president
KOTA KINABALU – Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today continued his barrage of criticisms against the practice of forming political coalitions, claiming that it explains how Sabah ended up on the losing end while governed under a “big tent”.
The Semporna MP said the trend of forming alliances has made many parties weak and seen them contest far fewer seats when working with others. Shafie pointed to MIC, MCA , Gerakan, PBS, and Usno as victims of undue control within Barisan Nasional (BN).
“There are just too many alliances here and there,” he said, pointing to the notion that forming a coalition is for “the good of all”. “But look at a party like Gerakan. Do they have any seats now? They used to administer Penang.
“The same with PBS, which contested in over 30 seats, but now PBS only has one MP who is Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili. He also noted that Usno had to be dissolved to make way for BN to enter Sabah.
Usno was resurrected recently, only to be made part of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).
Shafie pointed out how Pakatan Harapan (PH) went back on its election pledges to give Sabah autonomy, raise the state’s oil royalty, and realise the terms in Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“I was in Umno in BN with (Tun Dr) Mahathir Mohamad, (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim, (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for nearly 30 years, and another six years with Mahathir, Anwar, Lim Guan Eng, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and Mohamad Sabu (in PH).
“From BN to PH, I have experienced it all. They make promises after promises. PH promised to raise our oil royalty and give Sabah her autonomy if they come to power. “Having said all this, I went all out campaigning all over Sabah, telling voters that the state’s rights will be returned and implemented.
“But what happened? They (PH) did not realise them. When they came into power, what did Lim say? ‘We don’t have money’,” said Shafie.
Yesterday, Shafie cited the problems he faced working with coalitions as the reason Warisan will field candidates in all 25 federal seats in Sabah, and in Labuan. Shafie also said that Dr Mahathir betrayed their gentleman’s agreement not to expand Bersatu to Sabah in 2019. Dr Mahathir was then chairman of the party.
He also took a swipe at Lim, saying that Penang now has two bridges and an undersea tunnel being planned. He said these cost billions of ringgit, but Sabah receives nothing. “The people of Sabah, when will you realise all this? We need to wake up. Until when we are going to have our wealth taken and receive nothing in return?” he said.
Shafie also took a swipe at GRS for spending millions of ringgit on billboards, but leaving Sabah roads in bad shape.
Sabah and Sarawak can be kingmakers
Meanwhile, Shafie agreed that Sabah and Sarawak parties can be kingmakers as long they are not dictated to by those in the peninsula. He said he supports the view of SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian that the east Malaysian states can become kingmakers.
Shafie added that the country needs a different landscape in politics where Sabah and Sarawak can call the shots. “I am very sure (Sabah and Sarawak can be kingmakers). I will go along with that view.
“This is a timely game-changer we have, to set a different kind of landscape of politics in the country. “I am saying this not for the interest of Sabah alone, but also for the nation,” he said.
“We want more. Not only political stability, but also for the voice of the people to be heard and the people’s mandate respected. We need to show that these are not for sale.”
– The Vibes, October 13, 2022