KOTA KINABALU: In one of the most awaited decisions of the current political turmoil, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal says Parti Warisan Sabah is backing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Warisan president announced that the party has decided to become part of the national Opposition, but will cooperate with the Federal Government for the sake of the people.
Describing Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as “my old friend”, he said: “Politically, we are not behind Muhyiddin, but we have government-to-government collaboration and we will work together.”
Speaking to reporters after meeting Sabah assemblymen and MPs at his office here yesterday, Shafie said the decision to work with the Federal Government was to ensure Sabah was not behind in development, healthcare and security aspects.
“I hope Muhyiddin understands. I have nothing against him. He is a nice friend of mine. He has been with us for a long time but I cannot be bogged down by politics, ” he said, adding that the national development agenda had to take priority.
Shafie’s announcement puts an end to speculation of crossovers with the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government.
Asked if he was concerned that there could be some who might shift their support since the Parliament sitting had been postponed to May 18, Shafie said he was confident that if someone was clear on what he or she wanted in life and as a politician, they would remain firm in their stand.
“If there is clarity in our lives, it will be easier for you to make decisions. But if we don’t have clarity in values, then we will change our minds easily, ” he said, adding that he hoped Sabah would remain “intact” until and after May.
Shafie said he had no plans to change the state Cabinet at the moment, adding: “Who knows there will be changes instead in the federal side.”
On development and funding now that Sabah had become an Opposition state, Shafie said he was confident that the state’s development would continue.
On matters regarding oil royalty and state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), he said discussions were still ongoing.
“When Sarawak was in the Opposition, they too came for meetings and negotiations so it doesn’t mean when you are in the Opposition, you cannot do anything, ” he said.
Shafie said it was not only the government that was involved in talks and discussions on these issues but agencies such as Petronas.
“It is not that we don’t want to share the riches of Sabah and Sarawak with other states, we do but we want what is ours according to MA63, ” he said.
On talk that Umno was trying to “buy” assemblymen and MPs from Sabah, he said he could not “force people to do what they did not want to”.
“I did not buy anyone to join me to form the state government before this, and I think Sabahans must show the way on what are the right values for us as politicians and leaders, ” he said.
Except for Putatan MP Awang Hussaini Sahari and Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin, both from PKR, all other lawmakers were present.
Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew said Hussaini was out of town while Jonathan’s reasons would be made known later.