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Harris sees going tough for BN in coming polls
Published on: Thursday, November 02, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Barisan Nasional (BN) may lose Putrajaya in the 14th general election (GE14) but will remain in power in Sabah and Sarawak with reduced majorities, Free Malaysia Today quoted former chief minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh as saying.

Harris said voters in the east Malaysian states were looking forward to a change of government at the federal level despite BN's claims that the two states were its fixed deposits.

"Their feelings on the current federal government are the same as their countrymen in the peninsula.

Almost half of the Malays in the peninsula are no longer supporting BN.

"It is not a question of whether Sabahans and Sarawakians are being deprived of their rights by the federal government, but the people here have heard lots of things.

"They are worried about what is happening in KL."

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made similar remarks recently, saying that the opposition Pakatan Harapan pact could win at least half of the parliamentary and state seats in Sabah with help from Parti Warisan Sabah.

Harris said frustration towards the federal government was building up among Sabahans and Sarawakians, over perceived discriminatory policies.

He cited the different rules applied to foreigners who want to settle for their retirement in the peninsula or east Malaysia.

"I hear that if these people can bring RM1 million into Langkawi and Johor, then no problem.

Immigration will allow them to come in. But in Sabah and Sarawak, no. This is very selective.

"So, Sabahans and Sarawakians want a straightforward and transparent government with little or no negative publicity." He told Free Malaysia Today.

However, Harris also believed that BN would be returned to federal power after two terms.

He said Warisan's popularity had increased due to party president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal's arrest but that would not affect BN's chances of retaining the state government.

"It is true that when it comes to Shafie, the rural people look at the accusations as unfair.

They say MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) picks and chooses its cases.

"People are asking, 'Why just Shafie?' Ordinary people don't believe the accusations against him.

So, now he is more popular.

"But as far as the state government is concerned, to some extent, the people will still support BN.

Musa Aman will end up having a majority.," he added.

However, he said BN's position as the parliamentary opposition could prove detrimental for Sabah because the state's progress would be dependent its relationship with the federal government.

Harris was chief minister from 1976 to 1985.

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