If you’re going to have to swallow a frog, you don’t want to have to look at that sucker too long!

–Zig Ziglar, American author

The spotlight was on two Sabah veteran politicians last week.  One is a serving chief minister who assumed the post in May 2018 and the other, a former leader who served as chief minister for 15 years from March 2003 to May 2018.

Amid a power tussle between Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and his predecessor Tan Sri Musa Aman, the former announced the dissolution of the state legislative assembly, and put paid to Musa’s comeback plan.

Musa had announced that he had 33 assemblymen with him and therefore had a simple majority to form a new state government.

Yeah, a simple majority alright, but Musa didn’t see it coming. What he and his team of YBs, some of whom had earlier switched parties, didn’t expect was Shafie’s brilliant move — a political Houdini if you may — to get Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin’s consent to dissolve the state assembly.

The move had put an end to some people’s dreams of forming a government.

Musa’s machinations were all so obvious that Shafie could see them coming a mile off.

As the sitting chief minister, Shafie had every right to seek a dissolution to avert a ‘backdoor’ and illegitimate state government. Certainly, Sabahans wouldn’t settle for a government that doesn’t have their mandate.

Under the Sabah state constitution, the head of state has absolute power to dissolve the state assembly.

I believe many right-thinking Malaysians support Shafie’s move. We cannot allow ‘backdoor entry politics’ to take root in this country, can we? It will not be good to the nation’s political health!

Of course ‘political frogs’ or ‘political whores’ (this should be an appropriate term for politicians who betray their parties) appear to be the only ones unhappy over Shafie’s move as the prospects of them going back to the people have put fear in them.

Ironically, Musa claimed confidently he had majority support to form a government, yet he is not prepared to let Sabahan voters decide his political future. Funny isn’t it?

I don’t buy his lame excuse that now’s not the right time to put the people through an election because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Warisan leader, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, took Musa to task for criticising the dissolution of the state assembly, and I quote:

“The dissolution puts an absolute end to Musa’s insatiable thirst and desire to wrest power in Sabah through the backdoor and form an illegitimate state government without the people’s mandate and certainly one without a moral compass.

“The people do not support an illegitimate backdoor government motivated by money politics, nor do they fancy being robbed of their democratic right to choose their own government.

“Absolutely heinous and utterly shameless coup tainted with party-hopping, betrayal, and money politics. The remark that there should not be an election now due to Covid-19 is a ‘hogwash’ as there have been several attempts to wrest power from a democratically-elected government during the pandemic.

“But to have Sabahans democratically now do this is unwise? Even hypocrisy and shamelessness must have limits.

“Shafie’s quick action to immediately dissolve the state assembly ensured them of this democratic right. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot hold our state elections in the next 60 days.”

Let me take you back to a similar situation in Sarawak – the Ming Court incident of 1987.

In March that year, 28 assemblymen of the 48-seat Sarawak state legislative assembly met in Ming Court Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and signed a petition of no-confidence in the then chief minister Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

But their attempt didn’t see the light of day as Taib obtained Head of State Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce’s consent to dissolve the assembly which triggered a snap election.

In the ensuing electoral tussle, Taib emerged victorious by a slim margin.

The voters saw through the machinations of the ‘political whores’ and made a wise decision at the ballot box to vote them out. Can’t imagine where Sarawak would be now if the ‘frogs’ had succeeded.

Sabahans, it is said, are the most politically mature voters in the country. Governments that failed to serve them well were brought down like nine-pins. Barring money or racial politics, Shafie should be back in power.

Guess they hold true to Abraham Lincoln’s famous words, “A government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish…”

The outcome of the snap polls will be a bellwether for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s coalition which is said to be planning a general election soon.