With the political fallout, BN is expected to team up with the state’s main opposition party – Parti Warisan Sabah led by Mr Shafie Apdal which occupies 19 seats – and other smaller parties to form the next state government.
At the same time, five BN assemblymen have broken ranks and publicly announced their support for Mr Hajiji.
Free Malaysia Today on Sunday reported that the five have signed statutory declarations extending support to Mr Hajiji as the chief minister.
WHY THE POLITICAL CRISIS?
Mr Bung Mokhtar, who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, stated that BN pulled its support for Mr Hajiji due to a loss of confidence in his leadership.
He was quoted as saying by Bernama that Mr Hajiji had breached an agreement between BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
He noted that BN and PN had implemented an agreement to form the state government following the Sabah state elections in 2020. However, Mr Hajiji and other leaders of Sabah’s Bersatu – which is a component of PN – later left the party.
This, Mr Bung Mokhtar argued, caused the state government to lose its legitimacy.
He said: “Hajiji also threatened us with a Cabinet reshuffle without any discussion. We have also lost confidence after Hajiji lost his locus standi and qualifications to be selected as Sabah Chief Minister.
“According to the Sabah state constitution, the chief minister must be chosen from a party with the majority. He (Hajiji) is without a party, his standing is under GRS, which is a grand coalition party.”
Mr Hajiji was one of 15 Sabah Bersatu state assemblymen who left the party led by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin. The move came after the formation of the unity government at the federal level by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim last year.
Following an official trip to Jakarta, Mr Anwar is expected to fly to Sabah on Monday evening to broker a peace deal among the parties.
WHO IS IN THE RUNNING TO BECOME CHIEF MINISTER?
Political analyst Oh Ei Sun told CNA that there are currently three main players vying for the post of Sabah chief minister – GRS’ Mr Hajiji, BN’s Mr Bung Moktar as well as Warisan’s Mr Shafie.
Mr Shafie was previously Sabah’s chief minister from May 2018 to September 2020.
Dr Oh said that Mr Bung Moktar “had long wanted to be the chief minister”.
“In the last state election, then-prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin pushed for Hajiji to be the chief minister at the expense of Bung. But now that Hajiji has abandoned Muhyiddin and Bersatu, I think Bung saw an opening (to be chief minister) and pulled out from the state ruling coalition,” said the senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
However, Dr Oh noted that if Mr Hajiji is ousted, Mr Bung Moktar and Mr Shafie would have to work together to form a new state government.
“At the moment, it doesn’t look like they have enough numbers.”