The rumble of distant polling comes nearer

Commentary by FCBH


KOTA KINABALU: The people of Sabah may be going to the polls sooner than scheduled despite the fact that election isnt due until 2025.

That was the hint dropped recently at the Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabahs (Gagasan Rakyat) congress by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor.

The current political and economic stability and the absence of voter discontent under the GRS government are favourable indicators that an early election – perhaps in the third quarter of next year after several major celebrations – could be in the offing.

However, the decision about an early election rests entirely with the Chief Minister.

And, according to a leading businessman Tan Sri TC Goh, one of the chief considerations for early election is the peoples economic well-being.

But whenever the next election is called, it will be the GRSs first acid test as a seven-party coalition.

Will it make any difference to the outcome if an election is called early or in 2025?
Perhaps, the Chief Minister wants to capitalise on the noticeable groundswell of support statewide, stability and the development and progress brought about by his GRS administration.

Are these signs that are pointing at an early election win for Hajiji and his team?

An early election often results in an increased majority for the party already in power if it is held at an advantageous time.

Recently, Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs told FMT that a snap Sabah election would likely work out in the favour of GRS with Warisan at its weakest point in the partys history.

And, he also reportedly said Warisan, one of GRSs main rivals, should still be able to defend its strongholds in the east coast of Sabah but would lose out elsewhere.

Warisan currently has 14 State Assembly members compared to 23 who were elected during the 2020 election.

And some weeks ago, Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said they were open to working with Warisan and Parti KDM for the upcoming state election.

Theres no doubt Sabah has been a byword for political stability ever since Hajiji successfully gathered seven parties under one umbrella to form the GRS state government in 2020.

The blessing for Sabah today is that it has leaders who genuinely care for and connect with the people.

And, the Chief Minister is always in the thick of things. He is the real deal – a leader who hit the ground running as soon as he assumed the most powerful post in government.

Hajiji is the man behind the ambitious plan – the meticulously conceived Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) roadmap – to turn Sabah into an economic powerhouse.

The social media will continue to have a salutary effect on how the voters think. But what is important is that they must avoid simply sermonising about what they “see or hear” without first verifying the facts.

Desperadoes taking cheap potshots at the Chief Minister and his government dont add up to a hill of beans when the chips are down.

For example, legacy issues concerning water and power problems were deliberately raised to put the GRS in a bad light.

Its hard to believe that the people of Sabah have forgotten the failed unsavoury plot to overthrow the GRS government earlier this year.

They stood aghast at the coup and plotters who caused such instability. Fortunately, the turmoil did not last long as Hajiji managed to regain his political grip on the state.

Once in every five years, the people of Sabah go to the polls to choose their government but right now, I like to believe many of the voters whether in urban or rural areas have already made up their minds.

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