Stay calm and soldier on, Shafie tells Sabah as rumours of defections persist


Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal is pictured at Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur February 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal is pictured at Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur February 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, March 3 — Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal sought to allay Sabah residents concerned about the stability of his administration as talk of lawmakers changing sides remained rampant.

The Semporna MP, fighting rumours of defecting elected representatives and a possible change of government, posted a photo of him smiling and doting on his grandson Shazwan Azfar Shazni.

The photo was captioned “keep calm and soldier on” and shared on social media.

It was learnt that Shafie is currently in Kuala Lumpur. Speculation about the fate of his administration escalated after Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday.

Shafie maintained that his Warisan party and its allies would support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but has kept a low profile since the weekend after the latter failed to stop Muhyiddin’s ascension.

Several Pakatan Harapan states have already fallen and some among the former ruling coalition’s lawmakers have defected to Perikatan.

Warisan has been battling rumours of defections from party members who were originally from Umno or other Barisan Nasional parties, and Shafie’s deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking and secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr have issued statements to downplay rumours.

Some Sabahans have lauded the government on social media for maintaining its stance and not “supporting the backdoor government”. Sabah is also no stranger to being an Opposition state, the last time in 1994 after the fall of the Parti Bersatu Sabah government.

However, it was rumoured that because no official stand has been made by the State, there is the possibility of defections and horse trading to get assemblymen to support the federal government.

At the current standing, Warisan, along with DAP, Upko and PKR holds 43 seats in the 60 seat state assembly while the Opposition, made up of Bersatu, PBS, STAR and Umno holds 17 seats.