Cover image via FMT

THE news that former UMNO vice president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal establishing a new local Opposition party in Sabah has send shockwaves through the political arena within the Land below the Wind.

Coupled with the addition of Penampang MP Darrell Leiking announcing he would join Team Shafie, Sabah promises to be an interesting battleground of sorts in the next General Elections.

Naturally, Barisan Nasional, especially its Sabah chapter has downplayed the role of this new political entity and rightly so.

The main reason being, most are confident that the election machinery within the party is able to take down any challenges, be it from the existing Opposition coalition or the new party being formed by Shafie.

Image via FMT

Of course, there are a number of factors to be considered before determining whether Shafie’s party has the pedigree to really rattle the Barisan Nasional in Sabah.

While many of the local political observers were quick to note that Shafie’s influence is only strong within the Semporna parliament and its neighbouring seats, they have forgotten that the man is also well-versed in Barisan Nasional’s strategy in keeping Sabah from falling to the hands of the opposition.

If you ask me, Shafie is much more of a threat compared to PKR or DAP in Sabah.

I guess realising that Shafie could be starting something, Darrell chose to switch into a ‘better car’.

Being the only PKR parlimentarian in Sabah, there is only so much that he could do while wearing the PKR outfit.

However, the nature in his move has exposed a fatal flaw within the current Opposition framework.

Neither PKR, DAP or Amanah has much of a political future in West Malaysia.

Their style of politics is only suited to the Penisular and this presents an advantage for the ruling coalition.

Barisan Nasional, be it in Sarawak or Sabah were smart in galvanising local parties to offer them support.

It has created a system which worked so well elections after elections.


Shafie realises that fact and decided to emulate the BN’s formula.

How much effective can he replicate it remains to be seen.

However, it is important to note that clearly Shafie is doing this to remain relevant.

He knew joining Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia would not be beneficial to him in the long run.

So, he did what he could to ensure his political survival.

At the end of the day, his actions were only done to serve his interests.

That’s not a reason why any of the Sabahans should vote for him, don’t you think?

Khairul AmirĀ is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly his personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.