Shafie under attack as Sabah battles for KDM votes

Videos are making rounds in Sabah, zeroing in on Shafie Apdal's past 'Malay' image in Umno and questioning his claim to championing the Kadazandusun Murut community.


KOTA KINABALU: The battle for the hearts and minds of the critical Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) vote base has taken to the much loved short videos shared on mobile phones, with the Barisan Nasional camp zeroing in on the credentials of Shafie Apdal to speak on behalf of the community.

“Are you confident that this Shafie Apdal, a leader who for so long was extreme in his Malayness, after he was ejected from Umno, he suddenly becomes an angel who has fallen in love with the Kadazandusun Murut?” a speaker questions in one of the videos.

The KDM community represents over 40 sub-ethnic groups in Sabah, making up a seizable percentage of Sabah’s population of more than 3.5 million people.

Shafie, the Semporna incumbent and a former Umno vice-president, was sacked from the Cabinet in 2015 following a fallout with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He later set up Parti Warisan Sabah, which has formed a loose alliance with Pakatan Harapan led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The video further questions Shafie’s ability to solve the illegal immigrants crisis in the state, which locals have largely blamed on the so-called Project IC, where tens of thousands of identity cards were dubiously given to foreigners under the Mahathir administation in the eighties.

“Do you see this Warisan leader, Shafie bin Apdal, a man who can solve the PTI and fake IC problems?” a speaker asks.

Shafie has come under increasing attack from state leaders and politicians, after the former rural development minister said he faced hurdles from the state government to implement federal development projects.

Chief Minister Musa Hassan has fought back the claim, saying Shafie was trying to blame others for his own failures.

“Shafie had RM7.5 billion provided for his ministry, for Sabah alone,” Musa said recently.

“I thought this would greatly help Sabah. But I was wrong. Now that those projects have not met their objectives and Shafie is in the opposition, he conveniently passes the buck and blames things on me.”

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