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'Smart move': Anifah’s appointment will strengthen Hajiji’s position, says analyst
Published on: Wednesday, February 01, 2023
By: FMT, Robin Augustin
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'Smart move': Anifah’s appointment will strengthen Hajiji’s position, says analyst
Former foreign minister Anifah Aman (left) was appointed a special adviser to Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor on Monday. (CM Office pic)
PETALING JAYA: Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor’s decision to appoint former foreign minister Anifah Aman as a special adviser will strengthen his position in the state, says an analyst.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Lee Kuok Tiung said although Anifah and his Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) did not have any seats, the former Umno man was still an influential figure in the state.

“It’s a smart move by Hajiji. It will help consolidate support for him and ensure another Sabah party is aligned with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS),” Lee told FMT.

He said uniting local parties was especially important for Hajiji, given Umno’s failed attempt to topple his government.

“After all, GRS is a local party, so having more local parties backing him is a plus. Furthermore, Anifah is seen to be on good terms with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, having backed him while campaigning for the 15th general election.”

On Monday, Hajiji announced Anifah’s appointment as a special adviser on international trade and relations.

Anifah, the former Kimanis MP, served as foreign minister from 2009 to 2018.

Lee said in any case, it was difficult for Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin to try and topple Hajiji again after the failed attempt last month.

“Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ‘cleansing’ of the party by sacking and suspending party leaders has caused dissatisfaction in its ranks.

“There are Sabah Umno leaders who support those who were suspended or sacked by Zahid, who backed Bung’s bid to topple Hajiji. So Bung may not get the buy-in from his own party to topple Hajiji’s government,” he said.

A Sabah government insider said it was clear that Anifah’s appointment would solidify Hajiji’s position.

“It’s also a plus for GRS because Anifah will be a good ally, with his influence and resources,” said the insider who declined to be named.

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