Sabah's political crisis chronology

10 Jan 2023 07:39pm
Bung Moktar (centre) when announcing UMNO and Sabah BN withdrawing support for Hajiji as Sabah Chief Minister in a press conference at Sabah UMNO building on Friday night.
Bung Moktar (centre) when announcing UMNO and Sabah BN withdrawing support for Hajiji as Sabah Chief Minister in a press conference at Sabah UMNO building on Friday night.
SHAH ALAM - Malaysians have been shocked by a series of political crises since the "Sheraton Move", with Sabah Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) severing their support for Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and its chairman cum chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor recently, the people are once again left in doubts about the newly formed government.

Previously, people's dissatisfaction and unhappiness towards the country's leadership were translated into divided votes in the 15th general election (GE15), where no one coalition was able to obtain a simple majority to form a government.

Pakatan Harapan was forced to form an alliance with BN and GRS to form the unity government.

Sabah has come under the spotlight in the past week as state leaders withdrew support, claiming to have lost confidence in the chief minister's credibility to lead the state.

Recently, Umno-BN announced it was pulling support for Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, citing a loss of confidence in his leadership. This was following Hajiji's prior announcement to reshuffle the Cabinet.

The Sabah government, led by the GRS coalition, was on shaky ground after the BN and Umno announced severing support for Hajiji.

Here is the timeline of incidents which transpired since last week;

Jan 6: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor announced Sabah Cabinet will see a reshuffle soon.

He also said the details of the reshuffle will be disclosed in the near future. Prior to this, rumours were rife that Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin would be dropped from the Cabinet.
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Jan 6: Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) announced that they had withdrawn their support for Hajiji as Sabah Chief Minister after Hajiji's announcement of Cabinet reshuffle.

In a press conference, Bung Moktar said the decision was taken due to Hajiji's actions, which violated the agreement between Sabah BN and the formation of the state government during the last state election.

Jan 7: Istana Seri Kinabalu was in the spotlight as the present government, led by Hajiji, was thought to be dissolved.

Jan 7: Five Barisan Nasional assemblymen have urged Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin to resign his post as Sabah Umno liaison committee chairman with immediate effect.

The assemblymen have expressed shock and regret because Sabah and its people were again dragged into a political crisis by irresponsible people.

Hence, the assemblymen have declared their undivided support for Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor as the legitimate chief minister.

Jan 7: Hajiji held a meeting with Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin at Istana Seri Kinabalu.

Jan 7: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim assured that the political situation in Sabah is calm.

Anwar, who is also PH chairman, said that he had reached out to party leaders in the state to get the latest updates on the situation in Sabah.

Jan 8: Bung Moktar resigned as Sabah Football Association (Safa) president with immediate effect.

He said the resignation was made out of his own free will to focus on his political career.

Jan 8: Seven PH and five BN assemblymen attended a meeting with Hajiji, along with a few GRS members.

The closed-door meeting took place at the Chief Minister's official residence in Sri Gaya.

Jan 8: Hajiji confirms that he has received support from 44 Sabah state assemblymen and he will continue to govern Sabah.

Jan 8: Bung stands firm in his decision that the current Sabah government has collapsed.

Although Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor claimed that he has the support of 44 assemblymen, Bung said the political 'game' is still ongoing.

Jan 9: Anwar arrives in Sabah along with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also UMNO president.

They are scheduled to attend an event with Sabah state leaders.

Jan 10: Anwar gives his blessing to Hajiji to remain as Sabah Chief Minister.

However, at the same time, Anwar said he would like to give Hajiji space to find the best formula to ensure that everything in the state remains under control.

Commenting on this issue, experts opined that the newly-minted unity government can stand without the support of Sabah's BN.

BN leaving GRS will not have an impact on national politics, and the worst-case scenario would be a snap election.