Sabah could go for an early election, probably within the next two months, in a ruling party's move to test political undercurrents and general sentiments. It is a decision made for Sabah, by Putrajaya.
Candies and cookies are being actively prepared to woo voters. They come with tags, worth at least a few billion ringgit. Santa Claus could be expected to roam the land below the wind, long before Christmas this year.
Up for grabs would be 60 state seats. The outcome would set the tone for the next election. The 14th general election. Sabah has 25 parliamentary seats.
In Sabah, Barisan Nasional represents 48 state constituencies and Datuk Panglima Musa Aman the BN chairman leads the government as the chief minister. Musa has been in that position for the last 14 years. He could be well on his way out.
Sabahans are being offered a new Chief Minister. The little cabinet is of the view that removing Musa would be a game changer, sort of a breath of fresh air to override negative sentiments against BN and its national leadership.
But removing Musa could work both ways. It may well be the solution but also highly likely to be the achilles heel to BN in Sabah and elsewhere.
When Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali queried, via his Twitter site, if a senior minister had tendered his resignation due to the 1MDB scandal a couple of days ago, there were streams of denials and ridicule.
Some denials were rabid.
Which member of the federal cabinet could have likely thrown in the towel after a gush of consciousness over 1MDB? Reading between the lines were interesting.
Najib said he would consider Azmin a liar if the mentri besar failed to name the quitting minister. Azmin responded that his query was based on a personal chat with a particular minister. It's from the horse's mouth, he stressed.
Hours later, speaking from Kota Kinabalu, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi nailed it. He announced that the minister rumoured to have tendered his resignation was NOT Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Why the focus on Anifah Aman, the younger brother of Musa Aman the chief minister? Azmin did not name Anifah.
Its unlikely both Musa and Anifah are on their way out although Salleh Said Keruak and Rahman Dahlan may appear increasingly impatient.
But Anifah has been rather quiet lately. Talk of the minister having tendered his resignation was quite low-key, mainly due to two other similar previous rumours in the not so distant past.
As Foreign Minister, Anifah would certainly have more reasons to tender his resignation now than any other instance in the history of our nation. That is obvious as far as Wisma Putra stands today, or rather crouches these days.
Certainly Anifah must be having a tough time trying to reconcile his 'no-nonsense' stature with having to ignore concessions for multiple FDIs from China.
China's foreign direct interferences in Malaysia is increasingly evident after their controversial foreign direct investments. The Chinese embassy appears busy with local issues and partisan politics, to the extend of breaching diplomatic norms and criticising Malaysian leaders.
China is taking its OBOR a bit too far.
Maybe Anifah has learned to tolerate foreign lectures on 'how to address the former President of Taiwan or what should be an Asean communique'. Maybe not, but the tough-talking foreign minister has been very silent.
Talk has it that an impending resignation has been tentatively put on hold after a fast direct intervention, another FDI, by the prime minister.
A two hour negotiation at a leading hospital's cardiac care unit ward in Kuala Lumpur seems to have put things on hold pending the outcome of an ongoing horse trading.
In a latest development, sources say, the Ketua Pemuda Umno Malaysia post (to be delivered during the next party election) has been added to the plate to persuade Musa Aman to a smooth transition.
'The youth chief post is for CM's son who is currently Sabah youth chief. CM could be made the next Governor of Sabah. Basically he doesn't have any choice, especially with the recent SPRM cases involving Jabatan Air," a Sabah state assemblyman opined.
The bigger question, according to the native leader, is who will be Musa Aman's successor. Anifah may not last with a new state BN leader.
"Putrajaya is pushing for Datuk Panglima Salleh Keruak but the local sentiment favours Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor (Sulaman state assemblyman). I won't be surprised if the state BN officially proposes Hajiji. He is a well liked leader who is capable of being that game changer.
"Rahman Dahlan is not even part of the equation," the assemblyman quipped.
A long-time Musa aide who played a pivotal role in negotiations during the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion painted a rather defiant picture when deliberating these latest developments in Sabah politics.
He vouched that Musa still enjoyed strong support and is capable of turning the tables if he is pushed to the corner.
"When Tun M (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) and Anwar Ibrahim could shake hands and make up we cannot rule out or be surprised if Musa Aman and Shafie Apdal decide to bury the hatchet. Politics is the art of the impossible," he said, assuring that the coming state election would be an interesting affair.
Whether the election is held separately in April as planned or done together with states from the peninsula in September/October, Sabah is a political time bomb to many an observer.
Who dares rule out Shafie Apdal as the next Chief Minister of Sabah?
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