BN Not Worried By Lajim’s Departure
It turns out that Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin’s embittered departure and new alignment with Pakatan Rakyat and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s premature victory dance may have all been in vain.
Firstly, Lajim has been sacked as deputy housing minister, leaving him with little leverage in Government. He may still be an Umno member (for now), but he has now been relegated to the backbench along with fellow renegade Wilfred Mojilip Bumburin.
Secondly, Anwar’s machinations in Sabah are still unlikely to give Pakatan Rakyat control of the state.
After all, Barisan Nasional has strong support in Sabah, winning 22 out of the state’s 25 federal seats in 2008, of which 13 seats went to Umno alone.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Friday that he was confident that Umno and BN’s position in Sabah was not affected by the departure of Lajim and Bumburin.
He told reporters that the ruling coalition was capable of handling the challenge.
“There have been a lot of rumours and speculation flying around. What is important is for us to take suitable measures to heal the situation and to strengthen Umno and BN’s position,” Najib said at a press conference Friday.
He dismissed any suggestion that the issue could affect the date of GE 13.
“It will not delay the plan to hold the elections.” Najib said categorically.
In fact, it is Pakatan that is looking weaker after this entire episode.
After resigning last week, Lajim had announced his new party Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPS) would field candidates in 17 of Sabah’s 25 seats. This was no doubt news to Anwar, who was already midway through seat allocation talks with the existing Pakatan parties.
Now Pakatan will have to start new seat allocation discussions in Sabah that include PPS, as Lajim’s support comes with many strings attached. This must evoke painful memories for Anwar of the blundered Sabah elections in which PKR managed to create so many three-cornered contests that cost Pakatan potential seats.
Meanwhile, Najib’s announcement of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigration has robbed Pakatan of that issue – its only issue of any strength in Sabah.
No wonder BN is looking rejuvenated in the state, with Pakatan still unsure of its own credibility in the eyes of voters.
The deal between Anwar and Lajim will therefore not affect BN’s prospects in the state.
As for the date of GE 13, Najib made clear that the Lajim affair would not impact timing, but he did imply that the date was not yet fixed.
“We don’t know when the elections will be held,” said Najib. “Whether next year or this year. Cannot assume it’s this year, can be next year, or the other way round.” - (thechoice.my)