KUALA LUMPUR — Oct. 19, 2017: Two analysts are expecting Sabah political party Warisan to bleed support following the ongoing corruption probe into the alleged mishandling of funds for rural programmes which is mainly affecting its leaders and others linked to them.
Today it is reported that party president and former federal minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was called by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for questioning.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak senior lecturer Associate Professor Dr. Jeniri Amir considers the latest development to be a huge setback for Warisan’s mission to capture Sabah from Barisan Nasional in the next general election.
Others called in for investigations earlier included vice-president Peter Anthony and two of Shafie’s brothers.
“It is a fact that they have strong influence in Sabah, especially among the Kadazan Dusun Murut communities, but they are likely to lose a huge chunk of that influence because of this case. Furthermore, that allegedly misappropriated RM1.5 billion is no small change,” said Jeniri.
Shafie was rural and regional development minister as well as a vice-president of Umno before being dropped from the Cabinet and then leaving the party in 2015 to form Warisan.
On October 10, Shafie’s younger brother Hamid was detained by the MACC. Hamid’s son-in-law Manzur Hussein Awal Khan was arrested on Saturday while another brother of Shafie, Lahad Datu assemblyman Datuk Yusof, was arrested yesterday.
Others detained included Warisan Youth leader Azis Jamman, Tenom Umno Youth chief Jamawi Jaafar and Tawau Umno youth chief Ariffin Kassim.
Another political analyst, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azmi Hassan, said the case will negatively affect even Warisan’s support base in eastern Sabah.
“Even if they are proven not guilty, the fact that Shafie and his brothers were detained by MACC is enough to damage their image and cause their influence to wane. This coming general election will be a struggle for Warisan,” he said.