Will The Sabah State Assembly Be Dissolved Today For Early Elections?

Musa Aman telling off Jaujan Sambakong (Warisan-Sulabayan) at Wednesday’s sitting. Will he dissolve the State Assembly today or will he wait for another day?

KOTA KINABALU: All eyes will be on Datuk Musa Aman today, the final day of the state legislative session as to whether he will dissolve the Assembly to pave the way for elections more than a year ahead of schedule.

It has been widely speculated that Sabah would go to the polls early – provided Musa’s bosses in Putrajaya agree – and one date that has been mentioned as the possible day he would announce its dissolution is April 13.

Today, Thursday, the final day of the five-day sitting has finally come. Is Musa brave enough to dissolve the State Assembly.

Even political pundits dare not openly bet on Musa calling for snap elections, while the opposition reckons that the chief minister will not get the green light from the Barisan Nasional leadership as there is no assurances that the Sabah BN can perform better that it did in 2013.

The main indicator will be how Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and his cabinet address the numerous issues raised by the opposition.

Rahezzal Shah

“If Musa and his cabinet members go on the offensive against the opposition leaders in the assembly this time, it will show that early state polls is on the cards,” political observer Rahezzal Shah, who is a political science lecturer with UITM (Sabah campus)

He said that in the last assembly strategically addressed issues pertaining to Sabah rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Rahezzal said Musa articulated very well Barisan Nasional’s stand on Sabah rights by explaining what the state government had done to defend state rights in the last Nov state assembly meeting.

In this assembly, he said if Musa and his cabinet ministers take head on festering opposition issues on forestry, land and infrastructure development, it will indicate that Musa was well prepared to lead Barisan into the polls.

Unimas (University Malaysia Sarawak) lecturer, Dr Arnold Puyok and Senior Fellow at SEEDS reckons the indicators are already there.

Dr Arnold Puyok

“Musa is busy engaging people from all strata of society and I expect he will do more,” said Puyok, adding that apart from speaking passionately about his economic record at the recent function organised by the rotary club, the chief minister also spoke to the young people at the TN50 event.

“I also expect the state government to address infrastructure programmes in rural areas as well as other programmes that would raise the people’s confidence in government,” he said, adding that the issues of Sabah rights could see him scoring the most points.

According to Rahezzal, in the past couple of months, Musa has adopted an offensive strategy against opposition parties especially targeting his arch-rival Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“By character and nature, we do not usually see Musa taking the offensive. We are observing it now in his statements made as he crisscrossed the state.

“This in itself shows that Musa is ready for an early elections,” added Rahezzal, who is also a deputy chairman of the Society Empowerment Economic Development of Sabah (SEEDS), a non-governmental organisation think-tank.

Rahezzal said that an early state elections would be an advantage for Sabah Barisan as it would not give room for the opposition especially Warisan to gain ground and work out any pact with the other local parties.

He, however, made it clear that the final decision whether an early polls would take place very much depended on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is the national Barisan chief.

Several of the assemblymen also said that they tend to believe that this could be their last assembly meeting but a majority of the 60 assemblymen felt that the state elections would not be held now.

They said that the speculated April or May dates for the early elections was very unlikely but it could be held simultaneously with the 14th general election that is due by June 2018.

From their reading, they said, no green light has come yet from the Umno president.

Barisan currently hold 49 of the 60 state seats. Another is said to be BN-friendly.

There are indications too that the announcement will not come on Thursday, and if indeed Musa has been give the ‘ok’ for early polls, the announcement would be made next week, failing which, there would be no early elections.

At the end of the day, Musa, who seems to have lost his cool when tackling opposition lawmakers during the sitting, will have the final say, or is it…..