If Bersatu's Hajiji Mohd Noor thought troubles were behind him after finally securing the Sabah top post, he was sorely mistaken. Still, a bust-up of sorts with his biggest rival Bung Moktar Radin was narrowly avoided with a swapping of ministerial portfolios.

In other news, our Covid-19 numbers continued to hit triple digits, majority of which were from Sabah as well as linked to those who'd travelled there; and, Pakatan Harapan may be backing perennial PM wannabe Anwar Ibrahim's bid to overthrow the government, but DAP still wants proof to his claims of power.

Trouble averted in paradise?

Drama minggu ini in Sabah

So, Sabah Bersatu chief Hajiji Mohd Noor was sworn in as chief miniser yesterday, naming Sabah BN chief Bung Moktar Radin, STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan and PBS vice-president Joachim Gunsalam as his deputies. 
 
While the swearing-in ceremony went smoothly enough, trouble reared its ugly head almost immediately after. Not three hours after being sworn in, it was announced Bung Moktar, who’d been earlier named state housing and local government minister, had swapped portfolios with Sabah Bersatu deputy chief Masidi Manjun as works minister. 
 
In a later press conference, Hajiji tried to play it cool, denying unhappiness by any Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) leader had led to the change. He’d also handed the Masidi the position of Finance Minister II (the CM named himself Finance Minister), saying he needed his numero dos to help him particularly in resuscitating the state economy and facing the Covid-19 pandemic. 
 
But according to some reports, the switch had to be made because Abang Bung was less than pleased with the housing and local government stint. Apparently, BN had agreed to Hajiji being appointed CM in exchange for a bigger slice of the state pie in terms of ministerial appointments (allegedly, allegedly), with Bung eyeing the state works ministry gig.
 
After making a fast exit following the swearing-in ceremony, Bung Moktar apparently called for a presser for 1.30pm yesterday, but Hajiji, in full crisis-management mode, intervened and summoned the unhappy Bung to the state government building. Bung was seen entering Hajiji’s office with several Umno bigwigs including veeps Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Mahdzir Khalid and Ahmad Maslan. At 2pm, Hajiji announced the swap. 
 
Later, our man Bung, too, denied any wrangling between BN and Bersatu, saying the initial portfolio allotments had been merely a miscommunication. Funny how our politicians miscommunicate so regularly, innit?

Yet, not everything was tied up in a neat little bow. Judging by this tweet from Masidi, there’s obviously more to this short-lived saga, which he says he’ll only reveal when he retires. Such a tease!
 
Another hiccup, albeit an ever shorter one, was Jeffrey K’s appointment as DCM II. The Frog King, as you may recall, was a federal deputy minister prior to the state elections. There were those who questioned how he could be Sabah DCM and minister when he’s deputy tourism, arts and culture minister in Putrajaya. But that was cleared up when Jeffrey resigned his federal post
 
Meanwhile, former Sabah CM Musa Aman, who triggered the whole state polls in the first place and came out with nothing so far, expressed his confidence in Hajiji’s abilities to govern and better the state. It’s high praise coming from a man who led Sabah for yonks, but we can’t help but think the endorsement is also payback for BN not including Musa in its list of candidates.

Incidentally, the man of the hour, Hajiji, himself, has claimed he’d never aspired to be a politician. That was before he dived into the murky pond over 30 years ago, eventually becoming the Sulaman assemblyperson, a post he held for three decades.
 
In other news, any hopes of Shafie challenging GRS’s win at the state polls seems to have been snuffed out, despite the Warisan president not officially conceding defeat (does he really need to?). Poor chap won’t be able to repeat his 2018 performance when he got some people to frog it over to Warisan’s side to deny Musa and BN the state.

Anyhoo, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of Saturday’s election results, this analysis by Malaysiakini includes all the juicy details such as which seats changed hands (and there are quite a bit), the biggest winners and losers, and who lost their deposits.

Oh, and if you wanna know who’s been appointed what in the Sabah Cabinet, you can go here. Just bear in mind Hajiji will appoint five more ministers, as well as assistant ministers in the coming days. 

From Sabah with love?

As we all know, the Sabah elections were held amidst a spike in Covid-19 infections there, thanks to a number of clusters sprouting like mushrooms.
 
Well, the coronavirus situation in the state has continued to worsen. The Health Ministry has now officially stated the transmission of the virus has extended beyond Sabah community and to other parts of the country. Don’t we know it.

According to this tally, half of the infections outside of Sabah since Sept 20 have been linked to the outbreak in the state. This is unsurprisingly due to increased travel to and from there and interactions due to the recently concluded polls.

Meanwhile, there were 101 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, with four new clusters being detected. Two of these were in Sabah, and one in Johor linked to a couple who had travelled to Sabah. The fourth is in Selangor involving undocumented foreigners detained in Klang. Of the new cases, 73 were recorded in Sabah. 

It has gotten to such a point that the Malaysian Medical Association has urged the government to make it mandatory for those travelling from Sabah to be placed in quarantine centres to avoid more spike in cases. Yet the gomen is standing firm in its decision not to enforce compulsory quarantine on returnees who test negative for the virus. Instead, the Health Ministry is opting to conduct active surveillance and targeted enhanced MCO in Sabah. 
 
Sabah returnees are, however, merely advised to place themselves on self-quarantine for 14 days even if their Covid-19 tests (mandatory for those travelling from the Land Below the Wind) turn up negative, just to be safe. 
 
Also, the temporary enhanced MCO in the four Sabah areas may be widened to other areas. Health Ministry specialists in various fields would be heading to the state to observe and provide assistance in the enforcement of Covid-19 control measures there. Mercy Malaysia, too, has mobilised its volunteers to Sabah. 
 
In the rest of the country, some of the places affected are said to be a sports complex in Kuala Lumpur, a condo in Petaling Jaya, a bank branch and Klang MP Charles Santiago’s office. Yet be warned, a viral message listing many other affected locations have been found to be inaccurate.
 
In the interests of brevity, here are some other Covid-related news for you:

  • PM Muhyiddin Yassin has revealed the maqasid syariah (the objectives of syariah), which call for the protection of religion, lives, mind, property and generation, were the guiding principles behind many of the government’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. 
     
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has said the gomen will be able to decide on a vaccine by early next year. Plans are afoot to try to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for direct supply without having to undergo the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) allocation plan as the COVAX procurement model would mean having to pay upfront now for “something that still doesn’t exist”. 
     
  • All those who went to two eateries in Labuan on Sept 18 and 19 have been urged to get themselves tested after Covid-positive individuals were found to have dined there. 
     
  • If your road tax or driving licence expired during the MCO and you still haven’t gotten them renewed, well get them done by today. Starting tomorrow, action will be taken against those found with expired road tax stickers or driving licences. 

Pakatan's mixed messages

So that super “secretive” meeting of the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council on Monday night, as we all suspected, basically discussed our PM-forever-hopeful Anwar Ibrahim’s so-called Le Meridien Move
 
And surprise, surprise (not), the council approves of Brother Anwar’s move to claim the i̶r̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶r̶o̶n̶e̶ support MP support to overthrow the Perikatan Nasional gomen. But is everything all hunky-dory within Pakatan, then? Well, Negeri Sembilan MB and state PKR chief Aminuddin Harun seems to think so, saying Anwar wouldn’t announce he had the numbers if he didn’t actually have them. 
 
Of course, Aminuddin seems to have forgotten that Anwar had tried to pull the same stunt back in 2008, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was PM (which of course, never panned out). But setting that aside, it would seem not everyone within Pakatan is as confident as the Orang Nogori
 
DAP, for instance, has claimed not many details were revealed during the big meet, and the party is hoping to see proof of Abang Nuar’s claims. What’s more, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke has said there was “no progress” during the meeting. 
 
So, we have to ask, how can the council approve of what could turn out to be Anwar’s version of the Beer Hall Putsch if there was no consensus amongst the Pakatan leaders? Were DAP’s views disregarded, then or is the latter just playing coy?
 
If true, then why didn’t Anwar reveal important details to his Pakatan brethren? We can understand what he said about not wanting to reveal details to the media before meeting the Agong, but surely the other component parties of Pakatan shouldn’t be kept in the dark.
 
Whatever it is, with Perikatan and allies having won the Sabah elections, and the continued hospitalisation of the King, the more time goes on, the more difficult it will be for Anwar to realise his life-long (or, at least, political life-long) dream of becoming PM. 

Analysts say PM Moo’s standing has been strengthened by his side’s win over Warisan Plus in Sabah, and with BN/Umno placated by Bung Moktar being appointed DCM I and Sabah works minister (see above), it may seem like Anwar is fast losing his ground. Did Anwar play his hand too soon? 

Bits and bobs

As per usual, there were a number of other news items we thought we just had to include here, even if only in brief. So, here they are:

  • The World Bank has downgraded Malaysia’s economic growth forecast for this year to -4.9 per cent from an earlier prediction of -3.1 percent, thanks to a sharper than expected contraction in Q2 and heightened uncertainty over the start and speed of global economic recovery. 
     
  • As speculation for GE15 mounts, PM Moo has urged the people to vote for Perikatan if they want continuity in the current administration’s economic policies such as the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. 
     
  • The new national poverty line income will be introduced in the 12th Malaysia Plan next year so as to better allow for a targeted approach to eradicating poverty. 
     
  • The Selangor government’s been slammed by both Perikatan and Pakatan assemblypersons for its controversial plan to degazette most of the Kuala Langat (North) forest reserve to allow for a mixed development project.
     
  • Women’s rights group Women’s Aid Organisation has launched an initiative aimed at stomping out domestic violence. It also says the Penal Code needs to be amended to criminalise marital rape. Damn straight!
     
  • Malaysian artiste Mugen Rao has signed on to act in three Kollywood movies after winning the third season of Indian reality game show programme Big Boss

“More than 1 million have died from Covid-19. That’s one million human stories of parents, children, sisters and brothers."

- Dr Jemilah Mahmood -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • The global death toll from Covid-19 has passed the 1 million mark while a study has revealed 90 percent of people who’ve recovered from Covid-19 experience side-effects such as fatigue, loss of smell and taste and psychological after-effects. 

    Meanwhile, the World Bank is seeking the board’s approval for a $12 billion financing plan to help poor and developing countries secure coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
  • Disney has announced plans to lay off some 28,000 staff as the house of mouse is hit by closures and lower number of visitors due to Covid.
     
  • US President Donald Trump and Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden are set for their first of three presidential debates today. Find out all you need to know about the debate here

    Still on the US of A, intelligence services are warning of violent domestic extremist threats during November’s presidential elections. 
     
  • A 19-year-old Dalit woman who was gang-raped by four upper-caste men in Uttar Pradesh has died from her injuries. The case, the latest gruesome crime against women in India, had sparked outrage and calls for better laws and protection for women there.
     
  • Kuwait’s 91-year-old Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, known as the “Wise Man of the Region” and widely regarded as the architect of the nation’s modern foreign policy, has passed away. He was the 15th leader in a family that has ruled for 250 years. 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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