Warisan rep Ben Chong denies talk he’s switching sides
Jason Santos -May 23, 2020 8:01 PM
KOTA KINABALU: An assemblyman who is a Warisan Supreme Council member has denied he is one of 18 assembly members speculated to change sides to Perikatan Nasional and end the Warisan-led state government.
Tanjung Kapor assemblyman Ben Chong says he remained loyal to Warisan and supported party president Shafie Apdal, who is chief minister.
“There’s no such thing as any state assemblymen from the ruling bloc crossing over. Such talk is just part of the dirty tactics used by the opposition which is spreading lies during Ramadan,” said Chong, who is state assistant trade and industry minister.
He criticised Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain for claiming that the absence of 24 assemblymen at a recent show of support for Shafie was a sign of their resentment.
Chong said large gatherings are against the restrictions on gatherings meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. No more than 20 people are allowed to attend gatherings in Sabah.
Only 19 of the 48 state assemblymen, including appointed members, had turned up for a press conference recently by members of Warisan, Upko, Sabah PKR and DAP.
Another reason for their absence was that they were busy at work extending aid to the needy and not planning a coup as alleged, he said.
Chong said the Warisan-led state government’s position remained solid with 48 assemblymen. It would be a tough task for the opposition to take power.
Jason Santos -May 21, 2020 8:15 AM
KOTA KINABALU: The conspicuous absence of some two dozen Sabah assemblymen in a recent show of support for Shafie Apdal by several leaders from the state coalition is a sign that the Warisan leader’s position as chief minister is jittery, an Umno man warns.
Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain said it was also an indication of what’s to come in Sabah, which remained with Shafie’s Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan allies even as the coalition crumbled in Putrajaya last February.
As many as 24 state assemblymen failed to turn up at the May 15 show of support attended by assemblymen including three deputy chief ministers — Wilfred Madius Tangau (Upko), Christina Liew (PKR) and Jaujan Sambakong (Warisan).
“Only 19 of the 43 Sabah assemblymen aligned with Warisan turned up then. The remaining must have been dissatisfied with the chief minister,” Aziz told FMT.
There had been speculation that the Warisan-led Sabah government would collapse next month with the aligning of assemblymen with the state’s opposition parties, PPBM and Umno.
Aziz said resentment was also obvious among the 19 backbenchers, who had not been given any ministerial or other positions.
He said there were a number of representatives, especially from Warisan and Upko, considering to cross over to align themselves with the state opposition parties, as they felt the state should not go against the Perikatan Nasional federal government.
The Warisan-PH-Upko ruling bloc has 48 assemblymen, including five appointed assemblymen.
The opposition namely PPBM, PBS and Umno, needs 18 assemblymen to cross over to oust the ruling bloc in the state.