Najib: New political alliances not ruled out to win back Sabah

The political situation is still very dynamic and fluid. I think there would be various scenarios that could play out, so it’s a bit too early to say.

KOTA KINABALU: New political alliances are not being ruled out as Umno and Barisan Nasional work out strategies to win back their former stronghold of Sabah.

Barisan adviser Datuk Seri Najib Razak said although the current political situation was still very fluid, they were open to discussions with local political parties that could deliver.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Papar Umno annual general meeting yesterday, he said Umno and Barisan were still relevant to Sabah despite there being a push for local-based Sabah parties.

“The political situation is still very dynamic and fluid. I think there would be various scenarios that could play out, so it’s a bit too early to say.

But Umno and Barisan are open to working with parties which believe in the policies of the coalition,” he said when asked if Sabah Barisan would be restructured for the next general election or if a new political alliance would be put in place.

On how they would rationalise being in Sabah with Umno working with PAS in the Peninsula, Najib replied: “It’s not a big factor, and we do not want to overplay PAS in Sabah.”

“But we will look at how we can strengthen Umno; it’s possible that we may have to have some alliances in Sabah.

“But we keep our options open for the time being,” he said.

The former prime minister believed that Umno working with PAS in the peninsula would not be a major factor in Sabah.

Sabah Barisan collapsed after it lost the government in last year’s general election to Parti Warisan Sabah led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who forged a partnership with DAP and PKR.

Except for Sabah MCA, the local-based coalition partners left the coalition almost immediately after the election with Sabah Umno dealt a crippling blow when most of its top leaders defected to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Najib said there was growing realisation among the people across the country, including Sabah that the government under Barisan was better with the right policies that benefited the people.

“Barisan had the best delivery system for Sabah.

“I find that the grassroots spirit is still very strong. What we need to do is strengthen the leadership because we lost quite a number of people who jumped out,” he added.

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