By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM IN SEMPORNA
THE four-month-old Parti Warisan Sabah is set for a snap Sabah elections even if it is called for next month, party president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said.
Shafie said they were ready and have been busy briefing their party workers at various levels on preparations for an election, whether for state (only) or for the 14th General Election.
“We are now holding briefings for our polling and counting agents,” said the Semporna MP, who quit Umno last year to form a multi-racial Warisan to take on Sabah Barisan Nasional led by Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Musa was reportedly urging the federal government to give him the green light to allow Sabah to hold a snap (state) election in an effort to nip in the bud, Shafie’s growing potential to challenge Umno’s dominance in Sabah since it grabbed power in 1994.
He hinted that Musa was running scared of the swelling numbers joining the fledgling Warisan, and that was why he was pushing for snap polls, more than a year ahead of schedule for the third quarter of 2018.
According to Shafie he and other party leaders were pleasantly surprised to note that many Umno members were quitting the national-based party to join their struggle.
Taking an early election (speculated anytime from mid-March to mid-May) in his stride, Shafie told reporters in Semporna Wednesday that his party was formed not sit as an opposition but to topple the BN government under Musa.
“We are being accepted well by the people. The response has been very good and we are gaining strength as we go to the ground and meet people of various races,’’ said Shafie.
“We explain to the people that we are not here to be YBs (elected representatives) in the opposition. Our party’s mission is to topple the Barisan government in Sabah, All races should work with us” he said after meeting people at Pulau Sumandi in the Sulabayan constituency in Semporna.
He said he would be continuing his explanation (to the people) throughout the state and would heading to Papar, Kudat and Tuaran over the next couple of days.
WARISAN HAS SIMILAR OBJECTIVES AS PAKATAN HARAPAN
Asked about Pakatan Harapan, and whether Warisan would join the opposition coalition, Shafie said Warisan was a party for Sabahans, with similar objectives as Harapan, which was focusing on toppling the Barisan government in peninsular Malaysia.
Discounting possibility of working with Harapan parties like DAP and PKR, Shafie said that they will focus on toppling Barisan in peninsular, while Warisan will concentrate to topple Barisan in Sabah.
He did point out though that Harapan involves leaders of political credibility who are capable of springing a big surprise on the Barisan in peninsular Malaysia.
“Our aims are the same. They (Pakatan Harapan) want to topple Barisan in peninsula, we Warisan want to topple Barisan in Sabah. Our aims are the same even if we don’t have any pact.
NO AGREEMENT WITH PENINSULAR PARTIES
“We don’t want to make any agreement with parties in peninsular Malaysia but we agree to the aim to topple Barisan,” he said explaining that it was important for the government to see changes including independence of the judiciary, police force and other arms of government that will not be subjected to pressures of any groups or political parties.
He said a new government would ensure the top people in the judiciary or the police and MACC chiefs, be appointed by Parliament.
“I believe with such major figures like Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mat Sabu and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pakatan Harapan will be a great influence in changing the landscape in peninsula,’’ he said, adding that in 2008 former Prime Minister Tun Ahmad Abdullah Badawi lost five states without Dr Mahathir.
“This pact among the opposition in peninsular Malaysia is very big and strong,” he added.
Shafie said that in Sabah, Warisan hopes to make the changes to meet the aspirations of Sabahans who are still worried about the need for jobs, as well as the burden of the Goods Services Tax (GST) that has affected many Sabahans, and the long standing concerns over illegal immigrants and security among others.
‘JANGAN SALAH PILIH, JANGAN SALAH UNDI’
He said under Warisan’s ‘New Deal for Sabahans’ even (very important and necessary) Sabah history would be taught in schools, something that is missing from the current syllabus.
He said the young, and even the not so young, must know about the 20-points, the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Sabah making up Malaysia (and not joining the federation as is the common but untrue notion), and the push for more English to be taught in school.
According to Shafie, Warisan’s blueprint has been carefully thought out by a panel of professionals in tune with the current situation, and that it was not empty promises as alleged by Musa.
“Sabahans must be united even though there are many parties they must support Warisan,’’ adding, “jangan salah pilih, jangan salah undi” (Don’t make a wrong choice, don’t vote wrongly).