May 2018- The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) which has ruled Malaysia's federal government since its formation in 1963 and also Sabah since 1994 has finally fallen.
The results of the 14th General Elections and the Sabah State Elections held on May 9th saw UMNO finally taking a beating. At the federal level, the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition spearheaded by former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad won enough seats to form the federal government. At the state level, UMNO only managed 17 seats out of the 32 seats it contested. Together with its allies Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organization (UPKO) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), they managed 29 seats. The Sabah-born Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and its allies also managed 29 seats. The kingmaker was therefore the Parti Solidariti Tanahairku (STAR) which won two seats.
However unexpectedly the STAR president Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan who had all along opposed UMNO rule in Sabah, decided to help UMNO form the government again. Sensing that this UMN0-Star coalition would not last long, UPKO acting president Wifred Tangau decided to join forces with Warisan.
This gave Warisan and its allies the Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Keadilan (PKR) and new partner UPKO a total of 34 seats, but one UPKO rep decided to stick with UMNO, thus giving Warisan and its partners 33 out of 60 seats, enough to unseat UMNO.
Thus 24 years of UMNO rule came to an end. Those who criticise UPKO for jumping ship must remember that in 1994 UMNO came to power in Sabah due to assemblymen from the ruling government hopping to UMNO. And as UPKO pointed out, the UMNO government would never last, and truly enough two days after the elections, two UMNO reps left for Warisan. Also, the UMNO chief Musa Aman was alleged to have forcibly confined UPKO reps at his residence and forced them to sign allegiance to him, which is very undemocratic if true.
Let us hope that the new government which is finally helmed by a Sabahan party will rule Sabah fairly and bring more development to the state.