PETALING JAYA, Aug 4: A political analyst has described Musa Aman as a “force by himself” in Sabah politics and someone to align with by any party hoping to win the coming state election.

Neither Umno nor PPBM would find it easy to topple the Warisan-led government without his support, said Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya in a comment on the two parties’ wrangling over the constituencies each should contest in.

Awang Azman told FMT the former chief minster had plenty of support from both sides.

He noted that Musa, who is neither the Sabah Umno leader nor a member of PPBM, managed to get support from various parties in his recent attempt to oust Warisan from power.

That move was stymied by his successor and Warisan president Shafie Apdal, who obtained consent from the Yang di-Pertua Negeri to dissolve the state assembly.

Awang Azman said Sabah PPBM leaders, most of whom are former Umno members, were largely supportive of Musa. “The same goes for current Umno grassroots leaders.”

He also said Musa had a “solid network” of supporters in the business community, making it easy for him to mobilise an election machinery.

“He is in a stronger position than either Umno or PPBM and it will be difficult for either to move without his support. It will be worse if they have him as a rival.”

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said it would not be wise for anyone to write off Musa.

He drew a comparison with Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s return to the prime minister’s seat after the last general election. “Who expected him to make a comeback as prime minister?”

However, he disagreed with Awang Azman on the need for Umno and PPBM to align themselves with Musa, saying distancing themselves from him might even be an advantage if they conducted their campaigns well.

But he added that he believed the two parties would resolve their dispute over seat allocation.

“It’s normal for parties to express how many seats or which seats they want,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’ll sit down and bargain.”

Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin, Lee noted, had already said Umno and PPBM would fight the Warisan-PH-Upko coalition.


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