Muhyiddin unveils GRS manifesto in toughest state election yet

The manifesto has 9 pillars which include among others, infrastructure, economy, job opportunities and human development education

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by BERNAMA

PRIME Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) and several leaders of the newly formed Gabung Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition yesterday announced a raft of manifesto pledges targeting key voter bases as the fractured coalition gears up for its toughest election yet.

The manifesto has nine pillars covering aspects on infrastructure, economy, job opportunities, civil service, health and wellbeing of the people, human development education, security, youth and development of women.

“The election pledge marks a total commitment by all parties under GRS. For us to address the problems in Sabah, there has to be a strong bond between the federal and state governments,” he said at the launch of the coalition’s manifesto in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

“Give us the chance so that Sabah will be ruled by a government that is caring and concerned for the wellbeing of the people in the state,” Muhyiddin said.

“It is a very tough and challenging election, but I believe if we work hard, victory will be on our side.”

The election pledge was handed over to Muhyiddin as a portion of the promises were tied to the federal administration, while the rest involved the state government.

During his speech, Muhyiddin said the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which recognises Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in Malaysia, is among the items listed in the manifesto.

The pledge comes four days after Muhyiddin first announced the creation of GRS composed of member parties from Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

Muhyiddin then said an alliance between the coalitions would be the only way to take on the Warisan Plus state government led by incumbent Sabah Chief Minister (CM) Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The move, however, failed to prevent clashes between GRS parties. They will face-off each other in 17 of the 73 constituencies — nearly a quarter of the seats up for contest. All three parties will be going head on in Panginatan and Tulid.

To make matters worse, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has confirmed that the party supports independent candidate such as incumbent for Inanam, Kenny Chua, due to PBS’ decision to contest in the seat and several others.

Muhyiddin’s decision to name Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor as the CM candidate also revealed further cracks within the coalition. BN had strongly opposed the nomination, saying any decision on the position will be made once the coalition wins the election.

The launch ceremony yesterday saw Hajiji, who is Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief, and BN state chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin taking the stage where they vowed to fulfil all the promises made.

Hajiji said he is convinced that the pledges can be realised if Sabah had a parallel relationship with the federal government led by Muhyiddin. Meanwhile, Bung Moktar said the people of Sabah need not worry about GRS fulfilling their pledges. Failure of which, he said, will make the current government a one-term or even a half-term government.

The Warisan Plus campaign, which includes the DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation, has managed to avoid overlaps and has made clear that Mohd Shafie is their sole CM candidate. Mohd Shafie and his allies have wasted no time to capitalise on GRS’s disorder, raising doubts on how a fractured coalition would successfully lead the state. Polling day has been set on Sept 26.