February 2022 Vol 2 No 11

Talk of the Week

After a two-week break for an intense retreat with his team on charting out the direction for Let’s Talk! in the next three months, your Editor, Jamari Mohtar, is back to writing, writing and writing …

  • We have seen the war of words between Bersatu President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno leader of the court cluster, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, all in the context of the upcoming Johor state election.
  • Najib started it first when he seemed to go on a rampage by harping on the past in attacking Muhyiddin for the alleged Bersatu’s betrayal of Umno in the Sabah election on his Facebook on Jan 30.
  • This revolves around three issues, as Najib alleged:
    • Perikatan Nasional (PN) fielded candidates to fight Barisan Nasional (BN) in 17 state seats in the Sabah election and fielded Independent candidates in six other constituencies contested by BN to split the latter’s votes.
    • BN still won the greatest number of seats with 14 seats compared to 11 seats won by Bersatu but the Sabah Chief Minister post was appointed from Bersatu candidates.
    • The 11 seats won by Bersatu were by candidates who were former Sabah Umno leaders who joined Bersatu after the 14th General Election (GE14).
  • On Najib’s first statement, it must be borne in mind there were two coalitions and one party in the grand coalition of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) led by Muhyiddin to fight Warisan Plus led by then chief minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal in the 2020 Sabah election.
  • These two coalitions and one party in the GRS grand coalition were the PN coalition comprising Bersatu, Star and SAPP using the banner and logo of PN; the BN coalition made up of Umno, MCA and PBRS using the banner and logo of BN; while PBS contested under its own party’s banner and logo.
  • In his response, Muhyiddin said there were actually many meetings held to resolve the issue of clashes among parties/coalitions under GRS, culminating in an agreement on Sept 10, 2020 – two days before Nomination Day – on the number of seats each coalition/parties in the GRS will contest.
  • PN was allocated 29 seats, while BN 40 seats and PBS, 15 seats. But in the end, it was BN and PBS that reneged on the Sept 10 negotiated agreement and fielded more candidates than originally announced, raising the number of seat clashes between them from 11 to 17.
  • The only coalition that kept its word was PN, which had promised to contest 29 seats in the Sabah election and did exactly that during Nomination Day on Sep 12.
  • PBS, which promised to field 15 candidates, ended up fielding 22 while BN, which promised to field 40 candidates, ended up slipping in an extra one.
  • According to nomination rules, a candidate who wishes to contest under the banner of a certain party and/or coalition must receive its consent from the head of the party or coalition.
  • It is a reflection of the magnanimity of Muhyiddin who as the head of the PN coalition, appeared to have put his foot down by not allowing additional candidates for PN than what was already negotiated.
  • The same could not be said for BN, which is led by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PBS led by Maximus Johnity Ongkili.
  • In a last-ditch effort to prevent clashes, Muhyiddin flew to Kota Kinabalu on the eve of Nomination Day but failed to extract any concessions from the parties due to the stubbornness of BN and PBS to compromise.
  • Najib’s allegation the 17 seats that saw clashes among the GRS allies were fielded by PN to fight BN rang hollow when parties under the banner and logo of PN were not involved in the 17 seats, except for Star, as shown below:
    • N02 Bengkoka – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N05 Matunggong – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N07 Tandek – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N11 Kadamaian – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N22 Tanjung Aru – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N25 Kapayan – MCA (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N26 Moyog – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N34 Lumadan – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N38 Paginatan – Umno (GRS BN) vs Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N39 Tambunan – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N40 Bingkor – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N41 Liawan – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N42 Melalap – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (PBS)
    • N44 Tulid – Star (GRS PN) vs PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N45 Sook – Star (GRS PN) vs PBRS (GRS BN)
    • N47 Telupid – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
    • N54 Karamunting – MCA (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • As explained earlier, PBS was not under the PN coalition although it was in the GRS grand coalition. Bersatu under the PN coalition did not contest at all in any of the 17 seats, while Star under the PN banner contested only in seven seats of the 17 where only three involved clashing with BN, and even then not with Umno (except for one seat, Paginatan) but its traditional Sabahan rivals PBS and PBRS.
  • But despite these 17 clashes among allies in GRS vis-à-vis no clashes at all in Warisan Plus, which should give the advantage to the latter to win the election, it was GRS led by Bersatu’s Muhyiddin that clinched victory.
  • And in those 17 seats Warisan Plus managed to win only six – a pathetic 35% when it should be near 100%. What’s more, all six were held by Warisan previously, with five incumbent assemblymen.
  • This victory can be attributed to Muhyiddin’s ingenuity in adapting the PN coalition, which is a grand coalition at the Federal level comprising Bersatu, PAS, BN, GPS, Star and PBS to become a normal coalition under the grand coalition of GRS in Sabah.
  • He announced the formation of GRS, aimed at uniting PN, BN and PBS under one grand coalition on Nomination Day, as the group hoped to form the next state government. This is despite the clashes in 17 seats among some of the GRS allies.
  • With the GRS gaining victory, there is a new meaning to these clashes, which can be defined for what it is: a friendly fire among friends that ensures one of the friends will win. (See Against all odds, Muhyiddin won!).
  • On Najib statement that “Barisan still won the greatest number of seats with 14 seats compared to 11 seats won by Bersatu but the Sabah Chief Minister post was appointed from Bersatu candidates”, this is a subterfuge Najib is well-known for, aimed at confusing the rakyat.
  • In one breath he was talking about the BN coalition winning the greatest number of seats which was plainly false but in the next breath he switched to comparing apple to pear when he compared BN so-called winning the greatest number of seats against Bersatu winning 11 seats.
  • If he is honest, he should have compared BN’s winning seats to PN’s winning seat (apple to apple comparison because both are a coalition) instead of twisting it by comparing BN’s winning grab against Bersatu’s (BN is a coalition while Bersatu is a party, hence an apple to pear comparison).
  • The fact is BN, as a coalition in the GRS grand coalition, did not win the greatest number of seats in the Sabah election, as alleged by Najib. It won only 14 seats, all by Umno while the other members of the BN coalition – MCA and PBRS – failed to win even a single seat.
  • In contrast, the PN coalition in GRS won the greatest number of seats – 17 seats (Bersatu winning 11 seats and Star, 6 seats), hence the chief minister post should rightfully go to PN candidate, not BN.
  • Many analysts were saying that Umno’s performance in the Sabah election was tantamount to a convincing win. It was not! Although Umno was the second party winning the most seats after Warisan, it didn’t really do that well because out of 33 seats it contested, it won only 14, less than 50%.
  • Whereas in the 2018 Sabah state election, it won 17 out of 32 seats it contested – 53%. The only convincing win Umno had was in Melaka.
  • Finally, when Najib said “the 11 seats won by Bersatu were by candidates who were former Sabah Umno leaders who joined Bersatu after GE14″, this was not an issue when he and the other members of Umno court cluster went out of their way to support Muhyiddin as the new prime minister amid the political crisis of February 2020 engendered by the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
  • Najib and the court cluster then did not make a fuss about the issue of 11 Bersatu assemblymen then who were formally Sabah Umno leaders, and apparently were willing to forget about this when they supported Muhyiddin to be the new PM, without Muhyiddin canvassing for their support.
  • The court cluster could deny support for Muhyiddin as the new PM by harping or negotiating on the issue of the defection of 11 Sabahan Umno assemblymen to Bersatu.
  • But this issue wasn’t raised at all during the political crisis of February 2020 and it wasn’t even an issue during the Sabah election.
  • Even if it was an issue, Bersatu has as much right as Umno to the 11 seats since the status quo then was the 11 Umno assemblymen were already Bersatu assemblymen. They were the incumbents.
  • If Umno wanted to wrestle back these 11 seats, of course it can but it must get out of the GRS grand coalition to do this and fight alone under BN or team up with Warisan Plus. It didn’t do this because it wanted the cake and ate it too!
  • And there is a quid pro quo in this where in return for BN (Umno) agreeing not to contest against the incumbents in these 11 seats, BN was given the highest seat allocation – 40. Even then it acted unethically by squeezing in an extra one seat.
  • Perhaps Najib makes it an issue now apparently because he was annoyed Muhyiddin didn’t want to remove Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as a prosecutor in all cases of 1MDB involving him, as reported in the media recently.
  • It is quite telling that soon after the PN government was formed, Najib said in an interview with Reuters that the fall of the PH government that ousted him meant he now expected an atmosphere more conducive to a fair hearing, and hoped to rebuild his relationship with Muhyiddin, expecting it to be “water under the bridge”.
  • That expression means events that were in the past (his sacking of Muhyiddin as the deputy premier), and consequently no longer to be regarded as important.
  • Could it be that when he was convicted in July 2020, his expectation then changed to his trial wasn’t fair and then deemed his relationship with Muhyiddin as the opposite of water under the bridge, just because Muhyiddin refused to follow his behest that he (Muhyiddin) interfered in court matters on his behalf?
  • Relationship between Bersatu and Umno was at its best during the early days of the PN government and started to change for the worse only when Najib was convicted in July 2020.
  • In the war of words between Muhyiddin and Najib, the common theme that came out was each was accusing the other of being a traitor.
  • And the common word that made them a traitor according to both is betrayal.
  • Reduced to its simplicity, the gist of Muhyiddin’s characterisation of Najib as a traitor is the use of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd, which was deposited into his personal accounts for his personal benefit.
  • Based on court documents, Muhyiddin posted on his Facebook a list of transactions that Najib had used ranging from an RM2.5 million payment to law firms for “political intelligence”, credit card payments to the tune of RM2 million and house renovations, as well as personal and political expenditure.
  • “Yes, some money was given to orphans, but it was nothing compared to the money he spent on himself and politics,” added Muhyiddin.
  • “All this is not including the RM4 billion the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) lent to SRC which till today has gone missing. In the end, the government has to pay this loan since Najib was the one who approved it when he was prime minister.”
  • He also quoted the Court of Appeal’s judgement, which in upholding the High Court decision in convicting Najib, described the RM42 million that was used for his personal as well as political purposes as something that could not be said to have been done in the national interest.
  • “This is definitely not something that can be said to have been done in the national interest. There is no national interest here, just national embarrassment,” Muhyiddin cited the excerpt of the Judgement of the Court of Appeal.
  • “This is Najib’s CSR – Crook’s Self en-Richment! Donate to each other,” he wrote on his Facebook page, refuting Najib’s claims he used the RM42 million from SRC International for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • This is the essence of Muhyiddin’s characterisation of Najib as a kleptocratic traitor for embezzling billions of ringgit from state investment fund 1MDB, thus betraying the trust of the rakyat who had expected him as the prime minister who served the rakyat, instead of swindling them.
  • Meanwhile, the essence of Najib’s characterisation of Muhyiddin as a traitor is based on Muhyiddin had betrayed the country too when he betrayed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by plotting to bring down the PH government with the ‘Sheraton Move’ in 2020 and rose from his home minister’s post to become the country’s eighth prime minister.
  • But this is stretching thing too far when betraying an individual is equated with betraying the country. After all, by supporting Muhyiddin as the new PM, Najib was also in cahoots with Muhyiddin in betraying Mahathir.
  • The fact is there is nothing traitorous in Muhyiddin bringing out Bersatu, which he led, from PH.
  • It is not against the law and no court in the world will punish Muhyiddin for this, as it reflects a political strategy to withdraw from a political coalition whose aims and aspirations were no longer shared by Bersatu.
  • In a democracy, any coalition is a political pact among political parties with any member of the pact having the right to withdraw at anytime if the member concerned felt the pact has deviated from its original aim and purpose.
  • Muhyiddin’s last word so far on this war of words: “Najib has repeatedly accused me of betrayal but there is not a single Court that has indicted me.”
  • Earlier, on Dec 19, Muhyiddin was reported to have said based on his experience in working with PH before, there was no way PN could cooperate with the coalition in its present form.
  • “It’s not that we are against unity, it’s just that there are fundamental differences between us,” adding that this was why the decision was made to leave the pact.
  • He said this when asked about the suggestion by former Melaka chief minister Idris Haron for PH and PN to work together during GE15.
  • Idris, who contested on a PH ticket but lost during the recent Melaka election, said it would be difficult for the coalition (PH) to rally support if it chose not to work with other parties.
  • Bersatu had been part of the PH coalition when it toppled BN in GE14. Some 22 months later, however, it left PH to form the government together with Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and SAPP.
  • However, Muhyiddin does not close the door on the cooperation between PN and PH, as it could be an option if the opposition pact undergoes a large-scale reshuffle.
  • According to him, the factors stopping PN from forming ties with PH included the fact that one of its components was seen as not pro-Malay and Bumiputera.
  • “This party has a long history of disputing rights and so on,” he said. “So we cannot work together with them. This is why I think that ties will only be possible if a reshuffle takes place in PH.”
Read more on the war of words between Muhyiddin and Najib, and cooperation between PN and PH:
PN’s ‘betrayal’ in Sabah caused Bersatu’s fallout with Umno, says Najib

Perikatan did not betray Barisan in Sabah polls, says Muhyiddin

Najib hits back at Muhyiddin, says Bersatu undermined Barisan in Sabah polls

Muhyiddin keeps promise but allies renege on word, increasing clashes to 17

Despite clashes with allies, Sabah BN campaign boss says yet to see sabotage

Muhyiddin tries to glue together ‘hot and cold’ Sabah allies

Muhyiddin forms Gabungan Rakyat Sabah to take on state elections

Muhyiddin scoffs at Najib for ‘not understanding’ him over Sabah CM issue

Muhyiddin fires back at Najib, lists expenses from SRC funds

Muhyiddin claps back at Najib, says his idea of CSR is ‘Crook’s Self en-Richment’

Labelled a traitor, Muhyiddin lashes out at Najib over graft conviction

CSR Najib Ialah Merampok Wang Rakyat

PN-PH ties possible if PH undergoes major overhaul, says Muhyiddin

Responding to Najib’s letter of demand, Muhyiddin reveals ex-PM sought help to remove Sri Ram from his case

Muhyiddin spilled details of Najib’s request for judicial meddling attempts in letter to lawyers

Malaysia’s Najib expects more conducive atmosphere for 1MDB trial

  • The call on preventing the court cluster to make a comeback by urging the voters to deny a win for BN in the upcoming Johor state election could backfire BIG time.
  • In a way it has already backfired when one of the members of the minister cluster, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, responded to the call as an insult to the voters.
  • Any criticism of Umno or BN, which will put it at a disadvantage in winning the state election will galvanise both the minister and court clusters to act as one – defend Umno/BN.
  • After all, both clusters are members of Umno/BN and it would be politically incorrect for them to agree with the call to deny a win for Umno/BN simply because Umno/BN is their party/coalition.
  • This is also the reason why when on Feb 12, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Noor, who is also PAS Election Director, said political stability can be achieved if Umno and BN were stopped from leading the country, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri responded the very next day by brushing off Sanusi’s claim.
  • “Umno is in the government now, and I am a prime minister from Umno. This matter is supported by other parties. The government that we have now is stable.
  • “For the first time in history, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the government and the opposition. Hence the (instability) issue does not arise,” the PM said.
  • Here we can already discern the two views on stability. One is stability can be achieved via a state/general election to get a new, stable mandate which was what Johor Umno did by dissolving the state assembly.
  • This actually should be the norm in ordinary time but we are living in an extraordinary time when we are still bedevilled with the threat of the spread of Omicron strain and the possibility of the worst floods happening due to climate change.
  • Also there is no clear-cut guarantee that election can produce stable government.
  • The other view is stability can be achieved if the current government with a tenuous majority is allowed to run its full course until the next election via some form of agreement or understanding with the opposition not to “disturb” the stability of the government.
  • This is what happens at the federal level and was supposed to happen in Johor too but the Johor opposition did not play its part of the bargain by putting negotiation to a vote despite its undertaking not to disturb the stability of the state government.
  • Coming back to the court cluster, former Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin is right when he said no one from the court cluster is contesting in Johor or has anything to do with the Johor Government administration.
  • Khaled denied that the state elections had anything to do with some allegations that Umno leaders are trying to get out of the court charges.
  • “We acknowledge that there are some people on trial. But we agree that their issues should be left to the justice system. That is the (stand) Umno, BN and myself have taken all this while,” he said.
  • So the Johor state election should be fought on the basis of which party/coalition is able to come out with a plan of action and programmes that will benefit the rakyat most in this difficult time, and to devise a strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the voters to accept these programmes by mobilising party workers, activists and sympathisers towards this end.
  • At the same time, it is also important to ensure that party machinery is functioning smoothly to campaign in the context of achieving this end and also to creatively work within the SOPs set by the Ministry of Health, the National Security Council and the Election Commission.

 

  • Appealing to the voters to vote for you in this manner would be better than asking them not to vote for a certain party because this could be construed negatively by the voters as usurping their right to vote for whoever they want.
  • The court cluster may seem strong or influential but they are not really that strong or influential for otherwise Najib would have been made an economic adviser to the government following his success in leading Umno/BN to a convincing victory in the Melaka election.
  • So every party particularly Bersatu and PAS should aim for a BIG win just like what Umno is aiming in the Johor election. A BIG win for Umno also means a BIG win for the minister cluster, which PN can do business with.
  • The minister cluster would have realised too the BIG win for Umno by their working cohesively with the court cluster is just the first step in their battle with the court cluster.
  • A second battle is looming after this BIG win, which will affect their political survival if they are not careful. This arises because it is the president of Umno who will decide its candidates for GE15.
  • And the president of Umno is presently a member of the court cluster whose term has already expired and is being extended because of Covid-19 that had prevented Umno from organising its annual general meeting (AGM) to elect a new president.
  • This would provide a leverage for PM Ismail Sabri who is a vice president of Umno with no final say on deciding Umno candidates for GE15, not to succumb to the pressure of the court cluster to hold a general election soon following the anticipated BIG win of Umno in Johor, unless an Umno AGM is held first.
  • And if Umno can find it too convenient to hold a state election in Johor to get a new, stable mandate despite the threat of the spread of the Omicron variant, it should also find it very convenient to hold an AGM before calling for GE15 in order for Umno to get a new, stable mandate for its president and the PM to be the same person.
  • After all, holding a state election is more massive than holding a party AGM.
  • These are all internal politics of Umno in which a politician from another party should not openly comment, for it will just make the whole Umno grassroots hate the said politician.
  • But it is all right to remind voters once in a while, even during campaigning, not to vote a leader regardless from which party who swindles the rakyat or who is clueless on why big sum of monies belonging to the rakyat land on his bank account and then blames a third party for all these shenanigans.
  • It is also perfectly all right to respond to the court cluster if for no reason, they started to attack you first by making baseless criticisms.

Read more on the call to voters to deny BN a win in the Johor state election, and the cohesiveness of both the court and minister clusters to work together to ensure a win that more than meet the eyes.

A BN loss in Johor will stop ‘court cluster’ comeback, says Muhyiddin

Kalahkan BN untuk sekat ‘kluster mahkamah’ satu penghinaan

Sekat UMNO dan BN dari kembali memerintah, kita boleh ada kestabilan’ – Sanusi

Refuting PAS leader, PM Ismail Sabri says Umno-led govt stable due to historic MoU with Pakatan

Sanusi stands by his remarks that Umno, BN must be stopped from leading country

Umno veep Khaled Nordin says Johor snap polls nothing to do with ‘court cluster’

Party machinery: It is difficult for us to campaign

‘The last thing we need now is an election’: Johor voters wary of state polls amid Omicron wave

Maszlee, Maszlee … what telah happened…

  •  Former education minister Maszlee Malik seemed to be in a denial mode when he said Pakatan Harapan’s influence isn’t waning, and attributed low voter turnout as the reason for the coalition’s poor showing at the last two state elections.
  • What has made him so cocksure that the result of the two state elections would be different for PH had voter turnout been high?
  • If your coalition’s influence has not been waning, PH would have done better regardless of high or low voter turnout.
  • And his party, PKR, wouldn’t have even been wiped out in the Melaka state election like a cockroach being annihilated with the insecticide WipeOut!
  • If you want to better your party/coalition performance in the Johor election, you should begin with being humble enough to eat humble pie in accepting the current reality that your party/coalition’s influence has waned like a Covid vaccine.
  • Then get a booster jab in the form of working very hard behind the scene to ensure PH/PKR performs better this time around by coming out with a good and realistic manifesto to help the rakyat in this difficult time.
  • And please, no more manifesto that looks very beautiful on paper but cannot be implemented when you have been given the chance to govern.
  • And only when the results of the Johor election show that you have made good on your waning influence through your sheer hard work accompanied with a good and realistic manifesto, it is then and only then you can make such a cocky statement that your coalition’s influence isn’t waning.
  • When tragedy struck, the sole solace is to see how it brings the best in us together to help the victims.
  • There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
  • For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.
  • The response of Malaysians in helping the flood victims is just incredible and praiseworthy – from donation drives, to providing shelter, and rescuing people including a cat from the rising water.
  • There’s even one NGO catering assistance specially for flood victims who have disabled children.
  • Blessed are those who help others in extraordinary time for they are the embodiment of humanity at its best!

For more on these helping angels:

Humanitarian Assistance for Flood Victims

 

Let’s Talk! PRESENTS: We have heard the recent war of words between Bersatu President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and Umno leader of the court cluster, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. But what are the facts behind this war of words? JAMARI MOHTAR discusses these facts.

 

The real traitor par excellence, please rise

By Jamari Mohtar

Umno leader of the court cluster, Datuk Seri Najib Razak started the war of words first when he seemed to go on a rampage by harping on the past in attacking Bersatu’s President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the alleged Bersatu’s betrayal of Umno in the Sabah election on his Facebook on Jan 30.

According to Najib, this revolves around three issues:

  • Perikatan Nasional (PN) fielded candidates to fight Barisan Nasional (BN) in 17 state seats in the Sabah election and fielded Independent candidates in six other constituencies contested by BN to split the latter’s votes.
  • BN still won the greatest number of seats with 14 seats compared to 11 seats won by Bersatu but the Sabah Chief Minister post was appointed from Bersatu candidates.
  • The 11 seats won by Bersatu were by candidates who were former Sabah Umno leaders who joined Bersatu after the 14th General Election (GE14).

It must be borne in mind there were two coalitions and one party in the grand coalition of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) led by Muhyiddin to fight Warisan Plus led by then chief minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal in the 2020 Sabah election.

Under the GRS coalition, there were the PN coalition comprising Bersatu, Star and SAPP using the banner and logo of PN; the BN coalition made up of Umno, MCA and PBRS using the banner and logo of BN; while PBS contested under its own party’s banner and logo.

Muhyiddin had said there were meetings held to resolve the issue of clashes among allies, culminating in an agreement on Sept 10 on the number of seats each coalition in the GRS would contest.

PN was allocated 29 seats, BN, 40 and PBS, 15. But in the end, it was BN and PBS that reneged on the Sept 10 negotiated agreement and fielded more candidates than originally announced, raising the number of seat clashes between them from 11 to 17.

The only coalition that kept its word was PN, which had promised to contest 29 seats and did exactly that during Nomination Day on Sep 12. PBS ended up fielding 22 while BN slipping in an extra one.

It is a reflection of the magnanimity of Muhyiddin who as the head of the PN coalition, appeared to have put his foot down by not allowing additional candidates for PN than what was already negotiated.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent clashes, Muhyiddin flew to Kota Kinabalu on the eve of Nomination Day but failed to extract any concessions from the parties.

Najib’s allegation the 17 seats that saw clashes among the GRS allies were fielded by PN to fight BN rang hollow when parties under PN was not involved in the 17 seats, except for Star, as shown below:

  • N02 Bengkoka – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N05 Matunggong – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N07 Tandek – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N11 Kadamaian – PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N22 Tanjung Aru – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N25 Kapayan – MCA (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N26 Moyog – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N34 Lumadan – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N38 Paginatan – Umno (GRS BN) vs Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N39 Tambunan – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N40 Bingkor – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N41 Liawan – Star (GRS PN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N42 Melalap – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (PBS)
  • N44 Tulid – Star (GRS PN) vs PBRS (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N45 Sook – Star (GRS PN) vs PBRS (GRS BN)
  • N47 Telupid – Umno (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)
  • N54 Karamunting – MCA (GRS BN) vs PBS (GRS)

As explained earlier, PBS was not under PN although it was in the GRS. PN’s Bersatu did not contest at all in the 17 seats, while Star, also under PN contested in seven of the 17 seats.

Of this, only three involved clashing with BN, and even then not with Umno (except for one seat, Paginatan) but Star’s traditional rivals PBS and PBRS.

Despite these clashes among allies in GRS vis-à-vis no clashes at all in Warisan Plus, which should give the advantage to the latter to win, it was GRS led by Muhyiddin that clinched victory.

This victory can be attributed to his ingenuity in adapting the PN coalition, which is a grand coalition at the Federal level to become a normal coalition under GRS in Sabah.

With the victory, there is a new meaning to these clashes, which can be defined for what it is: a friendly fire among friends that ensures one of the friends will win. (See Against all odds, Muhyiddin won!).

On Najib statement “Barisan still won the greatest number of seats with 14 compared to 11 won by Bersatu but the Sabah Chief Minister post was appointed from Bersatu”, this is a subterfuge he is well known for, aimed at confusing the rakyat.

In one breath he was talking about the BN coalition winning the greatest number of seats, which was plainly false but in the next breath he switched to comparing apple to pear when he compared BN winning the greatest number of seats against Bersatu 11.

He should have compared BN’s winning seats to PN’s (apple to apple comparison as both are a coalition) instead of twisting it by comparing BN’s winning grab against Bersatu’s (BN is a coalition while Bersatu is a party, hence an apple to pear comparison).

The fact is BN, as a coalition in the GRS, did not win the greatest number of seats. It won 14 seats, all by Umno while the other members of BN – MCA and PBRS – failed to win even a single seat.

In contrast, the PN coalition won the greatest number of seats – 17 (Bersatu, 11 and Star, 6), hence the chief minister post should rightfully go to a PN candidate, not BN.

Finally, when Najib said “the 11 seats won by Bersatu were by candidates who were former Sabah Umno leaders who joined Bersatu after GE14″, this was not an issue when the court cluster went out of its way to support Muhyiddin as the new PM in the aftermath of the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

They did not make a fuss and apparently were willing to forget about it when they supported Muhyiddin to be the new PM, without Muhyiddin canvassing for their support.

Bersatu has as much right to the 11 seats as Umno, as the status quo then was the 11 Umno assemblymen were Bersatu assemblymen. If Umno wanted to wrestle back these seats, of course it can but it must get out of the GRS and fight alone under BN or team up with Warisan Plus. It didn’t do this because it wanted the cake and ate it too!

And there is a quid pro quo where in return for Umno agreeing not to contest in these 11 seats, BN was given the highest seat allocation. Even then it acted unethically by squeezing in an extra one seat.

Perhaps Najib makes it an issue now apparently because he was annoyed Muhyiddin didn’t want to remove Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as a prosecutor in all cases of 1MDB involving him, as reported in the media recently.

It is quite telling that soon after the PN government was formed, Najib said in an interview with Reuters the fall of PH that ousted him meant he now expected an atmosphere more conducive to a fair hearing, and hoped to rebuild his relationship with Muhyiddin, expecting it to be “water under the bridge”.

That expression means events that were in the past (his sacking of Muhyiddin as the deputy premier), and consequently no longer to be regarded as important.

Could it be that when he was convicted in July 2020, his expectation then changed to his trial wasn’t fair just because Muhyiddin refused to follow his behest to interfere in court matters on his behalf?

Relationship between Bersatu and Umno was at its best during the early days of the PN government and started to change for the worse only when Najib was convicted in July 2020.

Regards,

Jamari Mohtar
Editor, Let’s Talk!

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