Warisan must join forces to win GE15

Warisan has not attracted the attention of the people in Peninsular Malaysia, says UTM senior lecturer

by S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

PARTI Warisan Sabah (Warisan) must form a new coalition comprising Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) and Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) to win seats in Peninsular Malaysia in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali said Warisan, being a Sabahan party and initially established to fight for the rights of Sabahans, has not attracted the attention of the people in Peninsular Malaysia.

Therefore, for a chance to win on a national level, Warisan must move as a coalition with other parties, namely Pejuang and Muda.

“Sources are saying that Pejuang and Muda might merge with Warisan soon and call themselves Warisan Malaysia. We might have to wait for a few days for an official announcement.

“Nevertheless, I am confident that if Warisan cooperates with Pejuang and Muda, followed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad leading the new coalition, they could create a third force and gain the support of Malaysians,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Mazlan added that this is because after the recent Melaka state election, many parties criticised Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and felt that Dr Mahathir needs to lead again for the Opposition in GE15.

He also noted that several Pakatan Harapan (PH) members support the idea of Warisan joining forces with Pejuang and Muda.

However, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies deputy director Dr Kartini Aboo Talib@ Khalid disagreed with Warisan spreading its wings to Peninsular Malaysia, as the party’s interest revolved mainly around Sabah and its people.

She said it is best for Warisan to just focus on Sabah, where many deficits need their support to scrutinise and improve.

“Some may say it is suitable for Warisan to expand its wings to the peninsular, but I think that will be a waste of time and money.

“It will be difficult for Warisan to garner support from the peninsular people who have their own issues to manage situationally and structurally,” she told TMR.

Kartini further said Warisan would best serve Sabahans, particularly in improving their living standards and the inclusivity of development, adding that its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture) has proven to be a resilient leader in Sabah.

Therefore, she said Warisan can only be a competitive political party in Sabah, where many of its loyal supporters are.

Last Friday, Warisan officially announced that it will be expanding to Peninsular Malaysia and formalising its GE15 alliance with Muda.

The party would be making its debut outside Sabah in the upcoming GE15 and has offered Mohd Shafie as the “Prime Minister for all Malaysians”.

Warisan will now compete against an already crowded political landscape with the main coalitions of Barisan Nasional (BN), Perikatan Nasional (PN) and PH.

During the announcement, Mohd Shafie admitted that Warisan “cannot enter a battle alone” and that the party needed alliances that share the same principles to succeed.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said no decisions have been made so far with regards to cooperation with any other parties.

“For now, we are with Muda…not to say we have closed the door with other parties, but we will announce it later.

“So far, we have not appointed a division head yet. We have also not announced the state chairman,” he said in a press conference after the launching ceremony at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara last Friday.

Also present was Muda president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

Commenting further, Mohd Shafie said Warisan has not yet determined which constituency they will contest for GE15, especially in the peninsular.

“There may be areas that we will not contest at all. We cannot assume that we will contest in all states. I have to be pragmatic and discuss further with my friend the Muda president,” he said.

When asked about Warisan’s ability to spread its wings to the national level as the party is more dominant in Sabah, Mohd Shafie is confident that the notion could be overcome after this.

“I was the liaison chairman for Umno in Kedah and at that time, we took over the administration from PAS. Additionally, Warisan is open to all races in the peninsula.

“Our party is registered under the Registrar of Societies in Putrajaya. If Umno can contest in Sabah, then why can’t Warisan, registered in Putrajaya, also contest in the peninsular?” he asked.

The former Sabah chief minister also expressed that it is time for all parties to make changes in the country’s political landscape, by rejecting politics based on races, religions and gifts, and focus on a clean administration.

Mohd Shafie set up Warisan after leaving Umno following his dismissal from Cabinet Member Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak in 2015.

In the 2018 general election, Warisan became an ally of PH, as well as forming a federal government with it in addition to taking over the Sabah government.

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Warisan must join forces to win GE15