Update (11 August): At a PKR ceramah last night in Lenggong, Perak PKR chief Muhammad Nur Manuty said, “Sabah BN is rattled (sedang bergolak); we will know more by Sunday.”
Najib’s move to appoint former Borneo chief judge Steve Shim to head a royal commission of inquiry into the Sabah immigration issue also hints of desperation in his bid to shore up Sabah BN. This initiative is unlikely to please Mahathir either.
Popcorn ready? Political theatre may be unfolding in Sabah soon.
On Sunday, Anwar, Saifuddin Nasution and Beaufort MP Lajim Ukim are expected to be present at the residence of Senator Maijol Mahap in Kampung Kokobuan, Kota Marudu at 2.00pm. Maijol is expected to make an announcement.
Maijol is one of nine vice-presidents of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko). The Upko president is Bernard Dompok and until recently, the deputy president was Wilfred Bumburing, the MP for Tuaran.
(Incidentally, Maximus Ongkili of PBS-BN holds the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, which he won by a 4198-vote majority over a PKR candidate. Where does PBS stand in all this?)
At 8.00pm, after prayer-time, Anwar, Lajim, Maijol, Saifuddin, Tian Chua and Sabah PKR chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini are scheduled to speak at a restaurant in Kota Belud.
A source familiar with PKR informs me that the defections of Umno Supreme Council member Lajim, the Beaufort MP, and Wilfred, the MP for Tuaran, may not be the last; he predicts that there could be a further little string of defections of elected reps soon. This was the same source who tipped me off about two impending defections, though I didn’t report it here at the time as I had no means of verifying it. Turns out he was right (it was Lajim and Wilfred) and now he is telling me to expect more. Let’s see if he is right again.
The bigger question for Pakatan is, how reliable are all these defectors or Pakatan-friendly independents? What do they actually stand for? Are they defecting on a matter of principle (if so, they should spell it out clearly) or out of political expediency? If it is the latter, will they just as easily bounce back after the general election?
You can see what Anwar is trying to do here. By luring defectors, he is hoping it will strike a demoralising blow against the BN in the heart of one of the two ‘fixed deposit’ states. And that might encourage others to jump ship. This time, though, he seems to be holding his cards close to his chest.
There are 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah, of which Umno now holds 12 (after one defection), PBRS (1), LDP (1), Upko (3, after one defection), PBS (3), DAP (2), Sapp (1) and independents (2).