IT has been reported that Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor will reshuffle his Cabinet following yesterday’s failed coup with the biggest casualty expected to be none other than his deputy chief minister Datuk Bung Moktar Radin.
Bung, who is one of the three state deputy chief ministers, was among those said to be linked to the rumoured move to topple the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government and its chief minister.
In a news report published on FMT, it has been said that a source close to Hajiji said that Bung and tourism and culture minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin are “likely to be dropped”.
However, not all Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders will be dropped from the Cabinet.
“This was discussed last night. It is not a divorce with Sabah BN. Hajiji only wants to ensure the government will continue to function,” said the source, who declined to be named, told the news portal.
The source further revealed that Hajiji, who is also the GRS chairman, will bring Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen into his Cabinet.
Earlier, it was also reported that seven Sabah UMNO assemblymen, including Bung’s deputy in the state chapter, Datuk Yakub Khan, met with Hajiji last night.
According to Berita Harian, the meeting, led by Yakub, was held after Hajiji met with UMNO Sabah leaders at the UMNO headquarters yesterday afternoon.
The other assemblypersons who attended were Datuk Andi Muhammad Suraydy Bandy (Tanjung Batu); Datuk Mohd Hamsan Ag Supain (Sungai Sibuga); Datuk James Ratib (Sugut); Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (Sindumin); Datuk Harun Durabi (Bengkoka); and Datuk Raimie Unggi (appointed assemblyperson).
Four of them hold office in Hajiji’s government as state assistant ministers.
“Aside from the seven, at least three Warisan assemblymen met with Hajiji, too,” said the source, who declined to reveal what was discussed.
It is understood that Hajijii will be meeting with Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also a deputy chief minister, later today. STAR has six assemblymen, including Kitingan, in its ranks.
A gathering of Sabah UMNO assemblymen at the party’s headquarters in Kota Kinabalu yesterday sparked talk of a coup by the party and Warisan to oust Hajiji.
It is, however, interesting to note that both Hajiji and Bung had downplayed the meetings, with Hajiji downplaying his meetings with political players yesterday as meetings to discuss plans to develop Sabah in 2023.
Bung, meanwhile, also dismissed the speculations and explained that the state UMNO meeting yesterday was a “normal meeting” to discuss the party’s future.
Political watchers are closely monitoring the movements of politicians in Sabah after Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal called a press conference yesterday afternoon, and speculated to announce he had sufficient numbers to topple the Hajiji government.
The event was, however, postponed after journalists waited for two hours. – Jan 6, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama