Strategic partnership key in GRS victory

PM Muhyiddin calls upon elected representatives to perform their duties responsibly

by AZREEN HANI / pic by BERNAMA

STRATEGIC partnership between Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Sabah-based parties proved to be a key winning factor for the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition in the 16th state election.

Based on data from the Election Commission (EC), Star, which is a part of the PN coalition, won six out of eight contested seats, an improvement from winning only two state seats in the 14th General Election (GE14).

Despite not being in PN, the working cooperation with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) also gave an added advantage to GRS as the party won seven out of 22 contested seats.

Barisan Nasional’s Umno, which contested in 32 seats, managed to secure only 14, while other component parties MCA and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah lost in all four and five contested seats respectively.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secured 11 seats, bringing the total number to 38 for GRS — enough to form the state government.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in a televised address after the election results were announced, called upon elected representatives to perform their duties responsibly.

“The time has come for you to begin your work as elected representatives with integrity, honour and dedication. Fulfil all the promises we made in our election manifesto,” he said in the brief address.

Muhyiddin also thanked Sabah voters who placed their trust in GRS.

“We appreciate the support. We promise to fulfil our responsibilities to the best of our abilities.

He also thanked the volunteers and the EC staff for their tireless efforts since campaigning began two weeks ago.

“This new government which will be formed soon will receive full support from the federal administration that I helm. We will ensure that with strong cooperation from the new leaders as well as Sabahans, Sabah will rise to greater heights in the future,” said Muhyiddin.

Federal Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, in a statement yesterday, said the victory showed the people’s confidence in Muhyiddin and PN-GRS leadership.

Azmin added that the Sabah state and federal administrations will work on development and economic efforts post-pandemic.

The EC announced from the total of 731,331 votes, GRS managed to secure 316,049 or 43.21% of the votes. Voter turnout was only at 66.61%, lower than anticipated due to Covid-19 fears.

Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners — DAP, UPKO and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) — received 317,541 or 43.42% votes. Despite having more votes, Warisan Plus only garnered victory in 32 seats due to Malaysia’s first-past-the-post system.

“I want to thank the voters in Sabah for giving such strong support to Warisan Plus in the 16th state election. We can see that the one single party with the most seats is Warisan with 29 seats,” Warisan leader and incumbent Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture) said in a press conference late on Saturday night.

DAP won six out of the seven seats it contested, losing only at Bingkor, a Star stronghold. UPKO was seen as Warisan Plus’ worst performing party as it only won a single seat — Kadamaian — out of 12 seats it contested.

Party president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau also failed to win the Kiulu seat in his first attempt at contesting at state level.

The loss also spelt trouble in the coalition’s efforts to gain votes from the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut’s communities, which contributed to Warisan Plus’ defeat in the polls.

PKR retained two seats it won in GE14 at Api-Api and Inanam. The party initially requested to contest 14 seats, but conceded with seven allocated to them.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday the party respects the decision made by Sabahans and congratulated its Warisan Plus partners.

“At the same time, PKR hopes that the process to form a state government will be made peacefully and accordingly with wisdom,” he added.

Parti Amanah Negara also failed to win the single seat it contested.

Newcomer Parti Cinta Sabah, led by former Foreign Affairs Minister Tan Sri Anifah Aman also did not win any seat despite contesting in all constituencies.