KOTA KINABALU – Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor (picture) is still Sabah’s Chief Minister even though Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) through its component party UMNO has announced withdrawing support for Hajiji as chief minister, GRS stressed today.
In a joint statement issued by the leadership of the four component parties in GRS, they agreed that the announcement does not affect Hajiji’s current position because the legitimacy of the chief minister is determined through the support of the majority of members of the State Legislative Assembly based on the State Constitution.
“Hajiji remains as the Chief Minister of Sabah and any media statements by political parties have no effect from a legal point of view,” said the statement.
The joint statement was issued by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili; Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan; Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
At a press conference yesterday, Saban BN chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also Sabah Umno chief, announced that Sabah BN no longer supported Hajiji and had lost confidence in his leadership as he had allegedly violated an agreement reached between BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in forming the state government.
Bung Moktar said Sabah BN and PN implemented an agreement to form the Sabah government after the state election in 2020, but Hajiji and the leaders of Sabah Bersatu, which is also a PN component, left the coalition (PN) causing the current state government to have no legitimacy.
The four presidents of the GRS component parties reaffirmed that the Sabah assemblymen from GRS remained steadfast in their support of Hajiji’s leadership as Chief Minister.
The joint statement said GRS is the political party with the largest number of assemblymen in the 79-seat Sabah State Legislative Assembly, as well as expressed appreciation for the support of other assemblymen for Hajiji as Chief Minister including the collective support of Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen, certain BN assemblymen, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (Harapan) and appointed assemblyman
“This solid commitment is centered on the realisation that the interests of the people and the state must be prioritised over the narrow interests of parties and individuals,” they said, adding that it is everyone’s responsibility to respect the mandate of the people in the 16th Sabah State Election.
In the joint statement, the four GRS component party leaders also held the view that Sabah BN’s action of withdrawing support for Hajiji was a follow-up to the failure of their initial “coup” attempt on Jan 5.
“Any move to form a backdoor government and not through the election process is an act of betraying the mandate of the people and should be rejected,” they said in the joint statement. – Bernama