Analyst: Sabah, Sarawak should play hardball if new coalition comes knocking

KUCHING: The ruling parties of Sabah and Sarawak should take advantage of the political realignment in Putrajaya to push for the return of their states’ rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), a political analyst said.

Prof James Chin said Parti Warisan Sabah and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) could contribute 27 seats to the rumoured Perikatan Nasional (PN) and tip the balance of power in its favour.

“If I am Chief Minister of Sabah and Sarawak, I will ask for maximum autonomy in return for support, even more than what the MA63 promised,” Chin told The Borneo Post today.

However, Dr Chin said where Sarawak was concerned, GPS could choose to remain an ally of PN instead of joining the coalition.

“Both in practice work the same way but being an ally GPS would have flexibility, for instance it can use its own logo (during the polls),” he said.

Chin believes that utmost in the mind of GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is the next state election rather than who are in the new coalition, PN.

“His job is on the line,” Chin said.

Abang Johari has hinted that he might be calling the next state election early. It may be held latest by the first half of 2021.

The rumoured coalition are said to be made up of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), GPS, Warisan and MCA as well as a faction each from UMNO and PKR.

Eleven Members of Parliament had quit PKR today, including its deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

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