Tue, 30 May 2023



'Umno’s suspension of Shahelmey could lead to by-election'
Published on: Tuesday, March 21, 2023
By: FMT, Dineskumar Ragu
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'Umno’s suspension of Shahelmey could lead to by-election'
Umno suspended Shahelmey Yahya for six years after he went against the party’s stance and backed Hajiji Noor as Sabah chief minister. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: Umno’s decision to suspend Shahelmey Yahya for six years could tempt him to quit the party and trigger a by-election for the Putatan parliamentary seat, says a political analyst.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said Shahelmey’s position as MP was irrelevant to his political survival as he is a Sabah deputy chief minister and Tanjung Keramat assemblyman.

“Shahelmey has taken a firm stance to support chief minister Hajiji Noor. He may decide to focus solely on Sabah and relinquish his position as MP,” Lee told FMT.

He said Shahelmey could then join Hajiji’s Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah and remain a state assemblyman as there is no state law against party hopping.

However, under a federal law against party-hopping, Shahelmey would lost his position as MP if he resigned from Umno.

“A by-election will be triggered. We could see coalitions in the unity government including Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah fighting over the seat,” said Lee.

Shahelmy was elected on a BN ticket but the coalition may not be able to regain the seat as Sabah Umno and GRS were not on good terms, Lee said.

Shahelmey was suspended by Umno last week for refusing to toe the party line during an attempt to oust Hajiji earlier this year. The political manoeuvre fizzled out after Hajiji proved he enjoyed the support of the majority of Sabah’s 73 assemblymen.

Lee said he believed Shahelmey’s suspension was aimed at killing off his Umno career as it would prevent him from contesting at the next general election.

Another analyst, Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said he did not believe Shahelmey’s suspension would mean the end of GRS-Umno ties.

“When their interests match, they will work together expeditiously,” he told FMT.

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