KL, 10 Jan: Poor pundits sure got themselves worked up for nothing by the so-called Sabah political condunrum. Was it even that - a conundrum - in the first place? Joniston Bangkuai, the state assemblyman for Kiulu, laughed it off:
“Just a storm in a tea cup,” he told me. “Our ship remains steady.”
Indeed. Just days after threatening to bring down the Hajiji-led state government, Umno/BN strongman Bung Mokhtar, a controversial figure in Malaysian politics, finds himself face down in the political crap of his own making. His attempt at political blackmail, which is what this conundrum really is according to some political observers, has brought about a terrible backlash, not just against himself but Umno and BN in the state.
Chief Minister Hajiji Noor himself seems unaffected, if not stronger than before. There is a sense of finality to this when Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, fresh from his quick visit to Jakarta, said Hajiji had his support to continue leading the state goverment. Read HERE.
“Touching,” Joniston said, “that a few upright Umno state assemblymen (in the state) have stayed clear of those out to topple the CM and continued to support Hajiji.
“What is even more significant is the support of the seven Aduns from (Anwar Ibrahim’s) Pakatan Harapan.”
Under Hajiji’s leadership, Sabah, always one the poorest states in Malaysia, posted RM6.6 billion in revenues in 2022, its largest ever, and a healthy RM33 billion in investment.
“To put it in a nutshell, there is really no reason to disrupt the encouraging development momentum or to replace the Chief Minister,” Joniston added.
But all the reasons in the world now for the relevant authorities to rush in and investigate claims that some of those behind the failed coup had hastily given out some RM1.3 billion worth of projects during the days leading up to the recent general elections in November.
Were those projects given out to cronies with blatant disregard of proper procedures? Were proceeds from those projects used for the election? Or did people pocket the money for themselves?
People believe Hajiji became a target for the coup after he reportedly refused to sign off the RM1.3 billion projects.
Interestingly, we’ve been hearing that the same thing also happened in several ministries in the Federal government just prior to the GE. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is already onto one corporation that was said to have almost emptied its coffers in the days leading up to the elections, according to my sources.
I guess we’ll know more soon enough …