Archive for the ‘Sabah Politics’ Category

THE Federal Court’s decision not to dismiss the appeal by former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman in challenging the validity of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s appointment as rightful CM as academic just because the Election Commission had set the nomination and polling dates or that the Assembly has been dissolved and gazetted, is not surprising. As we are aware even the dissolution has become an issue, not the act of dissolution per se which is any TYT’s (Governor’s) right, but the process or what went into or was not considered in making that decision.

By the oath of office, Judges are duty-bound to uphold the Federal Constitution which is founded on democratic principles. There is a view that every Governor must know that he wears two hats, one as the head of the Executive and the other as part of the Legislature and that these two arms of Government coexist along with the Judiciary as equal partners of the Government. 

As head of the Executive branch of government, he appoints the CM after an election based on his assessment as to who in the Legislature enjoys the confidence of the majority of its members. Once that duty is done his Executive duty ends. 

As to whether the CM thereafter retains that confidence of the Legislature is purely and exclusively a Legislative function that can only be exercised by the Legislature and not by the TYT any longer. 

The pending case before the Federal Ccourt is expected to settle this issue.

In the Sarawak Ningkan case the judge was sceptical of drawing conclusions on the continued majority support of the Legislature by the TYT based on Statutory Declarations, because persons who put their names in a private list supporting a certain person as the CM would hesitate to do so publicly in the Legislature. 

This is also an opportunity to distinguish the Perak case or overrule it as a bad law or a law that is ill suited to deal with the political dynamics in Sabah. One of the canons of Constitutional interpretation is the “organic interpretation “ which was advocated by the FC in the Perak Case. 

By this interpretation the court will interpret the Constitution in a manner to promote the intent of the constitutional provision so as to eliminate the social evil facing the society. In Sabah one of the main political scourges which makes a mockery of democracy has been party hopping.

It has repealed the anti hopping law during the PBS era, following the FC decision in the Kelantan Case that State Anti-hopping laws are unconstitutional, the courts ought to be proactive in curbing the mischievous acts of breach of trust by the elected representatives.

Frogbuster

This was published in the Daily Express Sabah here

It may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers whatever the outcome of the pending Federal Court decision on the validity of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the rightful Sabah Chief Minister in the coming weeks, it may help set the framework for resolving future such constitutional crises that had become a feature of Sabah politics after every election since 1985.

There have been four instances to date where the immediate outcome of the voting process took a different path than expected.

When it first happened in 1985, the Federal Government had to step in and call for the people’s mandate to be respected. Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan (now Tan Sri), whose month-old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the State election with a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48-seat State Assembly found the Istana gates locked around midnight when he and his victorious entourage went there after the result for the last seat was known.

Unknown to him, a Shakespearean plot was in play at the Istana with certain quarters accessing it via a back entrance and getting Tun Mustapha Datu Harun sworn in as Chief Minister before the cockerel crowed at dawn.

The crisis was resolved only when then Acting Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam (now Tun) called for the people’s mandate to be respected, Mustapha’s appointment revoked and Pairin installed as the rightful Chief Minister.

Pairin was sworn in at 8pm – or nearly 24 hours after the Election Commission had announced the results.

Then Election Commission Secretary Tan Sri Rashid in recalling the incident told the Sabah Daily Express recently that when he went to the Istana before dawn to announce the results, he was shocked to learn that another person had already been appointed as Chief Minister, describing it as “Sabah’s weird politics”,

Then Governor Tun Adnan Roberts told the court case that ensued that he was forced to swear in Mustapha when one of the plotters behind the “power grab” showed him that he had a gun and was afraid of what would happen if he had not obliged.

A dissatisfied Mustapha took the matter to court which upheld Pairin’s appointment.

Barely 10 years later in 1994, a three-day delay by then Governor Tun Said Keruak, who claimed he was too sick to leave his bed to swear in Pairin allowed sufficient time for elected representatives from his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to cross over to the then ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and form the new State Government.

It was soon to be an inglorious end in political supremacy for Pairin.

Like in 1985, PBS then had a simple majority of 26 seats in the State Assembly but Pairin’s grip on power began to fade due to crossovers one by one until he finally had to throw in the towel.

For unknown reason, Pairin declined to challenge the toppling of his fledgling administration in court, unlike Musa in the latest cases.

What is notable is that of four occasions where there had been disputes over the appointment of chief minister, two involved Pairin and the other two, Musa.

The latest similar instances happened within a space of two years beginning with the Barisan Nasional-led Musa losing the CM post to Shafie within 48 hours of his appointment after securing a 31-seat majority in the State Assembly with the help of Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s Star that made it 31 seats for Musa compared to Shafie’s Warisan-Plus coalition’s 29.

Even then, and reminiscent of Pairin’s situation in 1985, Musa had to endure an almost 24-hour nail-biting delay before his short-lived swearing in at around midnight the following day. He saw the CM chair being taken away from him after taking the oath before Tun Juhar Mahiruddin when BN coalition partner, Upko, defected to the side of Shafie’s Warisan Sabah.

And in a reversal of roles two years later, Musa was not able to claim back the post when he managed to command 33 seats in the 65-seat (including four Nominated Assemblymen) State Assembly to Shafie’s 32.

Just like Shafie following the 2018 election, Musa managed to upstage Shafie on July 29, 2020 also through crossover of a record 15 elected representatives from Shafie’s side.

There were accusations of enticement and money politics but could not be proven as no corruption reports were lodged, just like in 2018 when the defecting Upko election winners claimed they crossed over to Shafie’s side for the sake of helping his Warisan Sabah form the government, despite winning the election on platform, manifesto and funding by Musa’s Sabah BN.

Musa claimed that he was “played out a second time” when the Istana gates were closed to him on July 30, 2020.

The latest incident also saw corruption allegations levelled against a sitting Head of State for the first time, as well as police reports against both the Governor and Shafie by a Muslim NGO.

Sabah is the only state other than Perak to face such a situation where the appointment of a chief minister is no walk in the park if you secure a simple majority.

Not content to take things lying down, the resilient Musa succeeded in taking both “travesties of justice” as he sees it up to the Federal Court.

The Federal Court granted him leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to be recognised as the rightful chief minister.

Federal Court Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli said “the people of Sabah had the right to know whether Musa’s removal was done lawfully and in accordance with the Sabah Constitution.” He also said the legal questions raised were of grave constitutional importance and have a far-reaching implication, which ought to be resolved by the Federal Court and should not be left hanging.”

A separate action also filed by Musa in the Federal Court which has also seen light of day related to the 32 elected representatives aligning with him on July 29.

Whatever the outcome of the two pending cases before the Federal Court, they may provide the guiding principle for the appointment of future chief ministers, especially in a simple majority election outcome, hopefully it may put to rest future such crises.

And whether it was right and proper for the former Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to advise the Governor to proceed with the appointment of Shafie when he already appointed Musa, is another discussion for another day.

N.B. this came out in MALAYSIA TODAY, see here & Daily Express see here

The High Court decision that Sabah and Sarawak have the right under the Federal Constitution to impose sales tax on petroleum products sourced from the state is a major victory which suggests that the judiciary is free from political interference and more fair.

I dare say that such a decision would have been unheard of before where the federal government could be easily formed by one dominant party which even boasted about it.

Perhaps it is not too late to file for a judicial review of the 1992 federal court decision during Dr Mahathir’s administration that the Anti-Hop Law to prevent unprincipled politicians from frogging is undemocratic.

It was in 1985, that the idea of an Anti-Hop Law was mooted by the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government.

In 1992, the Federal Court, the highest court in the land, ruled that an Anti-Hop law was unconstitutional as it is against the freedom of free association by an individual. Since then the Anti-Hop law was repealed.

That controversial decision allowed Dr Mahathir to form a backdoor government in Sabah despite PBS having won a slim majority of 25 seats against BNs 23 seats in the 1994 state elections.

Pairin Kitingan had to wait for more than 36 hours outside the palace (Istana) gates before he was sworn in as the chief minister because of manouvering by Barisan Nasional leaders who could not accept the people’s democratic verdict. PBS government lasted only about two weeks or a little more before it was forced out of power.

Happened again in 2018, May 9th GE14 after Musa Aman was sworn in as Chief Minister, UPKO frogs defected, the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin said that Musa no longer commanded the majority and Shafie was sworn in as chief minister on the night of May 12. Another backdoor government via frogging!

One thing I want to say about the political outcome is that although it is a backdoor government, it may be bad for the Peninsular Malaysia but very good for Sabah.

At last the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah will be tackled effectively because it was during Dr Mahathir’s time that the illegals problem worsened as Mykads were issued to hundreds of thousands of illegals to bring down the Christian-led PBS government.

Suddenly Sabah had the largest UMNO members after Johor. This too failed to bring down the PBS Sabah state government because PBS managed to obtain a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48 seats Sabah State Assembly in the 1994 elections, and PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan sworn in as chief minister of Sabah. However, as a result of defections of PBS assemblymen to the Barisan National, Pairin was forced to resign on 17 March 1994.

With horse-trading PBS assemblymen were promised numerous political positions, power and even money to switch allegiance. PBS was then left with only 5 seats. After 1994, PBS was split into PBRS, AKAR, SAPP and PDS.

So it was UMNO that bought over PBS Assemblymen to form Malaysia’s FIRST backdoor government in 1994.

Before that, Dr Mahathir said the Anti-hopping Law would violate the constitution because it forbade the elected representatives jumping over to the other side for monetary gains and he was in the know that millions had changed hands. Dr Mahathir defended the removal of Anti-hopping Law saying it was against the freedom of association right of the assemblyman, regardless of the rakyat who voted for the assemblyman.

So when all this was happening to Sabah, nobody in Peninsular said anything. Why be angry now that a backdoor government was formed at the federal level? And why is Dr Mahathir so afraid that the states including his Kedah state will fall due to defections to Muafakat Nasional/Perikatan Nasional?

Dr Mahathir the doctor is getting a taste of his own medicine!

Peoples voices not recognised in 3 instances of Sabah’s political history – 1985, 1994 and 2018. In all 3 instances, the decisions took a different turn and the government was formed by frogging and other means.

In 1985, Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the Sabah State election with a simple majority of 25 seats. However, PBS was not allowed to form the Sabah State Government by the Istana.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan was kept waiting for more then a day while power grab was underway in the wee hours of the morning. In which, USNO’s 16 seats collaborated with Berjaya’s 6 seats and the Sabah State Government was formed before the sun rose.

The schemers of this plan decided they can still form the government by laying claim to the 6 nominated state seat. The then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir was in Scandinavia and his deputy Musa Hitam had ordered the plotters to give up. Joseph Pairin Kitingan was then only sworn in as Chief Minister after almost 48 hours.

In 1994, something similar happened again with Pairin Kitingan and PBS as victims. This time, Pairin also won with a simple majority of 25 seats despite massive frogging by his assemblymen to government side due to the scrapping of the Anti-Hopping Law (The Barisan Nasional government challenged the Anti-Hop Law that was introduced in 1987 by the then PBS State Government in court and had it scrapped).

This time Pairin had to camp for 3 nights outside the Istana as the then TYT claimed he was too sick to open the Istana gates for Pairin to be sworn in. By the time the Istana gates were opened Pairin had already lost many of his Assemblymen and a new Chief Minister was sworn in. This eventually led to the downfall of the PBS State Government as the PBS election winners had joined Barisan Nasional parties.

In 2018, it happened again following GE14. But this time there was a major difference. While in 1985 and 1994 Pairin was not able to be sworn in instantly after the election results, this time, Tan Sri Musa Aman was already appointed Chief Minister after an unexplained delay of about 48 hours. And despite being sworn in with his Cabinet members, Musa Aman still lost his government to frogging.

This time the Upko boys did the frogging probably on the orders and advise of Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and despite pledging that as KDMs they will stick together and decide as a bloc and only leave the BN after consensus among themselves. Five assemblymen from Upko and one MP left BN to throw their support behind Warisan and Pakatan Harapan, a day after the general election.

Their action caused the collapse of the BN government led by former chief minister Musa Aman whose cabinet, which included two Upko assemblymen, had been sworn in less than 12 hours before.

I was there on that night of May 9th in Sri Gaya when Tangau came out and answered a phone call apparently from Dompok asking him to go to Shafie’s house in Luyang. Tangau disappeared from Sri Gaya after this phone call and headed straight to see Shafie in his house, alone, leaving all his UPKO boys with Musa Aman in Sri Gaya. Upko then switched allegiance to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan pact a day after the election.

For how long more must Sabah continue to be the only state where the Assemblymen decides who is to form the government by becoming political frogs and not by the people who voted them?

Lets hope a right decision is made by the Court of Appeal on this November 28th on the appeal of Musa Aman against the High Court ruling over the legitimacy of Shafie Apdal as the Sabah chief minister.

Comparison has been made between Sabah CM row and the Perak Mentri Besar tussle. However it must be stressed that they are entirely different.

In the Perak case, the Sultan acted before the new Mentri Besar was appointed.

In the Sabah case, the worst case scenario happened, despite the CM and the Cabinet already sworn in.

In the Perak case, everyone is the Sultan’s subject and the Sultan has the right.

But in the Sabah case, it does not have a Sultan but only a Governor, who himself is nominated by politicians of the day.

The Warisan-led Sabah Government has agreed to gazette all 90 villages that are in the State’s forest reserve areas. The decision was made at a State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal. They will bring it up at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly sitting this November 2019. The villages included in the districts of Kota Belud, Tamparuli, Tuaran, Tenom, Lahad Datu, Beluran and Pulau Banggi.

Under Shafie Apdal, now they can occupy forest reserves which Musa Aman in the past did his best to save.

Musa Aman even expanded forest reserves during his time, but now Shafie is doing the opposite.

Under Musa, Sabah had a total of 746,564.91ha in fully certified forest reserves, with 675,691.68ha under natural forest management and 70,873.23ha in tree plantations.

And during Musa’s watch, one of the milestones in Sabah’s conservation effort was when Sabah resolved to protect the area that harbours the largest Orang Utan population as well as a diversity of other wildlife in Sabah, at the Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves. After almost 60 years of continuous logging, this activity was phased out by the end of 2007. While there were some sceptics, it sent a strong message on Sabah’s seriousness about conservation.

To reiterate that Musa meant business, during an official visit by then, Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Deramakot Forest Reserve in June of 2006, Musa, at a press conference announced that logging would be phased out in Ulu Segama, Malua and Kalumpang by 2007. The eventual halt to logging in the areas would translate to a forfeiture of at least RM1 billion in timber royalties to the state.

Many at that time thought Musa trying to “bodek” and was just polishing Pak Lah’s boots who has been known to be somewhat of a nature lover. Lo and behold, logging was eventually phased out in those areas. The move led to 240,000 hectares to be placed under Sustainable Forest Management, for the conservation of orang utans reforestation an area that is also part of the broader Heart of Borneo due to its rich biodiversity.

Yes under Musa, efforts had been put in place to recreate healthy and productive forests in these and other forest reserves, each with their own management plans. In areas that are not fully protected, extraction of timber was done on a sustainable basis and high conservation value areas were protected for their many benefits, included as watersheds.

Through Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), 53% of Sabah or 3.9 million hectares of State land had been permanently set aside as Forest Reserves, Protection Areas and Wildlife Conservation Areas. The State Government under Musa had also decided to set aside 30 per cent of its total landmass or 2.2 million hectares as Totally Protected Areas, in the five years. It had also exceeded the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) target of only 10%.

It must be noted that Sabah under Musa then had restored and planted forests well over 600,000 hectares, presumably the largest such undertaking in the tropics. The Sabah Government then had promoted Sabah as the hub for tropical rainforest research involving renowned international research organisations such as The Royal Society of the United Kingdom, The Nature Conservancy of the United States of America, Sime Darby Foundation, Abraham Foundation, WWF-Malaysia IKEA, Petronas as well as key local higher learning institutions.

From all this we can observe the effort put in place during Musa’s watch for Sabah’s forest conservation and the environment. And now Shafie is doing just the opposite.

As to the rights to land ownership, proper procedures and regulations are to be adhered first. In this case has proper studies been done to gazette villages in State’s forest reserve area by Shafie’s government?

Who is to know who has legitimate claims, compared with spurious demands made by encroachers, timber-thieves and in-comers looking to make fortunes from logging from these State’s forest reserve areas? And even when it is a genuine claim for community customary land, if the demand from that community is to convert natural forest, what should be done? Should the protection of the State’s forest reserve or the rights of the community be the priority?

So why did Shafie rush to gazette all the 90 villages in the State’s forest reserve areas? Or are those villagers in those forest reserve areas Shafie’s vote bank in the East Coast? Or is it to harvest timber in those State’s forest reserves?

Something ponder!

The court declaration that the appointment of Sabah Water Department director Amarjit last year was unlawful has revealed how a thoughtless decision by the Shafie Government has opened a Pandora’s Box with incalculable consequences for the state.

People are now saying we don’t know what other appointments made by Shafie Apdal after taking charge of Sabah Government was illegal or didn’t follow SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). We need another Yong Teck Lee, they are saying.

Even the appointment of a non-Sabahan Sarawakian timber-man Hu Chang Lik @ Hii Chang Lik’s to the president of the Sandakan Municipal Council (MPS) is raising question, with many questioning the state government’s move of giving senior position in the civil service to private citizens.

Was the appointment of Sarawakian Hu Chang Lik as Sandakan Municipal Council President legal?

Hu Chang Lik mysteriously held the position as Sandakan Municipal President for only 1 year, why only 1 year?

And if Hu Chang Lik’s appointment as Sandakan Muncipal Council President is found to be illegal, all decisions made by him as President of Sandakan Municipal Council will also be subject to lawsuits.

Then the appointment of a non-Sabahan from Penang as a nominated assemblyman by the Warisan-led state government which was Never in the history of Sabah. It goes to show they have no respect on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). This is again a blow to Warisan’s slogan of “Sabah for Sabahans” which they stole from Party Bersatu Sabah. Which was also criticised by Dr Mahathir recently. All along it was very clear that the appointment of Nominated Assembly Member is to represent Sabah’s own minorities and not a West Malaysian from Semanunjung.

The appointment of Johan Arriffin A Samad  as the Chief Executive Officer of Institute For Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) also lasted for only 6 months although Shafie gave Johan all the hopes that he would continue to be CEO. The decision did not depend on the chief minister but with the board of directors of IDS, who voted 6-5 against him. Johan had to leave the IDS abruptly.

Then there is also talk that Shafie could replace Jamalul Kiram the Director of Yayasan Sabah cum Chief Executive Officer of Innoprise Corporation Sdn. Bhd (ICSB) with Former Sabah State Secretary, Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman. It seems Jamalul Kiram did not live up to Shafie’s expectations.

Under Shafie’s rule, an unprecedented and dire situation has arisen, as key institutions have squirmed under the overbearing pressure of interference. Some have raised the banner of revolt, some have buckled under the weight. Although institutions have always had to negotiate with political rulers, and there have been periods in Sabah’s past when things came to a flash point, but never before has such a sweeping discontent been visible to the people. It poses a danger for the country’s democracy if institutions like the Court and the MACC and the police are pressurised to function for political ends. As the Court of Appeal hearing of the legitimate Sabah CM approaches, many of these institutions are sensing that the Warisan-led state government could be on the losing side, and that has emboldened them to speak up. It is a hint of the shape of things to come.

Will Sukau Bridge 2 Project be Peter Anthony’s next Pot of Gold at the expense of Bornean Pygmy Elephants, Orangutans and Proboscis Monkeys?

Peter Anthony is looking into reviving the Sukau Bridge 2 Project.

Even World’s No 1 environmental icon Sir Richard Attenborough and international environmental NGOs were heavily critical of this project. Sir Attenborough had said that Sabah’s global appeal as an ecotourism will be doomed if the Sukau Bridge 2 Project went ahead.

The UK Guardian newspaper published an article highlighting Sir David Attenborough’s concerns over the proposed bridge that would span 350m across the Kinabatangan River, threatening one of the last sanctuaries of the rare Bornean pygmy elephant.

Musa Aman had scrapped this project. Looks like Musa is the only true defender of the environment. Musa’s track record in saving Sabah’s environment cannot be denied.

The Sukau Bridge Project is RM223mil and split into two phases.

Phase 1 is RM67 million and it involves an approach road followed by a bridge across the Kinabatangan at Sukau.

Phase 2 is RM150 million and it involves upgrading 0.3km of the IOI dirt road before constructing an ambitious 1.38km of elevated bridge featuring a raft of viaducts for animals to cross a forested Lot 3 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in addition to upgrading 1km of dirt road till Kg Moresem.

What Peter Anthony is suggesting is a slap in the face of Shafie Apdal as only yesterday Shafie had issued a stern warning to businesses, that the protection of wildlife in Sabah is absolute, and no compromise on wildlife.

The Kinabatangan Conservation Area is described as “Sabah’s Gift to the Earth” and has been dubbed the “Corridor of Life”.

Lets see if WWF opposes this project again as they did it in the past. In the past, the WWF representative RAHIMATSAH was vehemently against the Sukau Bridge 2 Project but now I hear RAHIMATSAH was recently awarded a project in the Danum Valley and may choose to stay silent.

I also heard last year a couple of soldiers were caught for poaching wildlife in the Danum Valley and so far nothing has come out of it.

Editor’s Note: 23rd August 2020, 1.20 AM

We have verified with our sources, Mr Rahimatsah was not awarded any projects in the Danum Valley and he did speak out against the Sukau Bridge Project. We apologise to Mr Rahimatsah for the mistake and we regret the error.

This article has been amended since publication.

This came out today, 15th September 2019 in the Daily Express. See also here n here

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim our PM-in-waiting is coming to Sabah on the 17th of September 2019. I’m made to understand that on reaching Kota Kinabalu, Anwar is expected to go to Kota Belud immediately where thousands of USBO (United Sabah Bumis Organisation) members including Pandikar Amin Mulia, Salleh Said Keruak, Amir Kahar Tun Mustapha among others will be officially joining Anwar’s PKR.

It seems USBO wants to rev up Muslim support for Anwar in Sabah.

Interestingly, Shafie Apdal from day one has been trying to win over USBO into Warisan, but seems like he has failed.

USBO’s membership is made up of Bajau, Bajo, Badjau, Jama Mapun or Kagayan, Balangingi, Binadan, Kubang, Sama, Sama Delaut, Simunul, Sibutu, Sikubung, Yakan, Sibaud, Ubian, Suluk and Iranun individuals.

USBO was formerly known as Persatuan Sabah Bajau Bersatu (PSBB) formed on June 15, 1964 and changed its name to USBO on Aug 31, 2006.

Sabah politics is getting more and more interesting. With this USBO move, PKR will be even stronger than Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu, and would certainly take the wind out of Warisan’s sails. USBO for sure is going to create a stir among political circles in Sabah with this move.

Lets wait and see.

September 8th 2019, Anwar Confirms KB visit.

Read BERNAMA story from George Town….

Anwar’s KB visit on  invite of  Bajau  Community Published on: Sunday, September 08, 2019 By: Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: The visit by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Kota Belud, Sabah, on September 17 is on the invitation of the Bajau community in the state, said PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. He dismissed speculation that Anwar’s visit to Sabah with several of the party leaders was to recruit or receive new PKR members. “We were invited on September 17 to Kota Belud by the Bajau community. We know Sabah has so many different ethnic (groups). They invited Datuk Seri Anwar and the rest of the party leaders,” he said, adding that as party president, Anwar was often invited by people from all walks of life. “This time, he accepted the invitation by Sabah, it is not an event to receive (new) members,” he told reporters after launching a blood-donation and health programme in Pantai Jerejak..

A news portal reported speculations that former Cabinet Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak and former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia would be joining PKR. According to the report, United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) information chief Musli Oli was quoted as saying both were among several leaders of the Bajau community in Sabah who will be making the move. It is understood that Salleh and Pandikar Amin will be submitting their applications to join PKR after the Malaysia Day celebrations on September 16.

In December last year, Salleh and Pandikar Amin announced they were quitting Umno to become independent politicians. They are among nine Sabah Umno state assemblymen, four Members of Parliament, two senators and 21 division leaders who left the party.