The Utusan Sarawak headline on Thursday evening, "GPS bebas, tidak sertai Pakatan Nasional - Abang Johari" was certainly odd.
PN is a non-existent entity, thus the denial indirectly acknowledged its existent. A Sarawak blogger speculated it may have came up in recent meetings between Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Nevertheless, it turned out that it was touched by Abang Jo during the PC as answer to a question from the press.
Political parties and factions aligned in the rivalry on the power transition from Mahathir to Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim been making claims Parliament seats held by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are aligned to them.
To quote a private comment from a former Federal Minister made in July last year, "...the chess board strategy being made out - a lot of "political game strategist' just place GPS as if we don't think to decide."
After Abang Jo's statement, the sides still insist the same and merely modified their viraled claim with a variation of 2 to 4 seats going to the other side.
Orang Malaya seemed to be taking Sabah and Sarawak for granted.
At almost the same time, Dato Seri Anifah Aman called on Sabah politicians to look into the interest of the people and state above politics in his press statement on the new political coalition [read this FB here].
The answer and statement by Abang Jo and Anifah may indicate surprises are in the making when Parliament convene on March 9th.
There is an opportunity presented and orang Malaya should not be presumptous on the political stance of Sabah and Sarawak.
Anifah is without any seat in Parliament and the common political attitude prevailing in Kuala Lumpur would be to brush him off as not having the locus standi to talk.
Orang Malaya not only take things for granted, being presumptous, but now have short memories. They forgotten Anifah's active role at the Kimanis by-election to help BN campaign against Warisan and his influence brought the support of KDM leaders.
Anidah still wield sufficient support and influence in Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS), UMNO Sabah and not to be surprised, PPBM Sabah. Anifah's statement could be a barometer of what is to come from Sabah.
His call on Sabah leaders to stop being deceived by sweet promises will resonate to the Members of Parliament across the divide.
He demanded Federal government to immediately implement the 57-year old Malaysia Agreement 1963, pay oil royalty, and address illegal immigrant problems.
In the meanwhile, the message from Sarawak for more than a year has consistently been the former BN allies will act to the best interest of Sarawak. Isn't that a similar message as Anifah's?
Picking up where Allahyarham Pehin Sri Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hj Adenan bin Hj Satem left off, Sarawak state government are more aggressive in demanding Federal Government to adhere to MA63.
In his statement, Abang Jo emphasised GPS will be independent and observe the political development at federal level from a distance. It is a Malaya's problem and not that of Sarawak.
No reasons apparent
The problem at the Federal government level is truly a Malaya problem.
To put it more succinctly, it is a PH versus PH problem, which is rooted back to old squabbles and mistrust between former PM4, Mahathir and his former Deputy PM, Anwar.
In FMT here, TK Chua observed the odd situation of everyone, both his own ruling partners and opposition, looking forward to work for Mahathir, but for no apparent reasons than the wrest for power.
The present political manouvering, which was apparently planned prior to GE14 by PPBM with the sales pitch UMNO will reunite after Najib has been rid off, lacks any significant justification on matters of peoples' welfare, governance and national security and stability.
The reasons are ambiguous and to non-political watcher, it is speculative in nature. Mahathir is evading from Anwar's succession to PM-ship on the perceived reasons of his past sodomy and him spying for CIA.
He has served time for the offense thus should be considered to have repented and pure as a white cloth. What about Azmin in the video, whom other than Tan Sri Hamid Bador's police, the public have concluded without dispute that the receiving party is him.
On Anwar being a spy, the public would have also heard allegation he is aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood, a Egypt originated worldwide Muslim organisation, but despised by CIA and the west.
Within UMNO, PAS and PPBM circle, the narrative being bandied around is DAP's support for Anwar and the likelihood that technically and professionally inadequate Anwar will end up to being DAP's puppet and stooge.
Over teh tarik at a neighourhood mamak shop reently, a non-partisan observer questioned as to what difference is it with Mahathir?
He acknowledged DAP's support placed him as 7th PM and gave in to DAP's wishes to appoint the incompetent but manipulative Lim Guan End as Minister of Finance, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas as Attorney general and allowed their chauvanistically motivated reform program be implemented.
Detractors of Mahathir speculated his reluctance is out of fear of political persecution against him, family and business associates which the recent Nikkei Asia Review column described as Mahathir replicating his past crony state.
As Dato Mohammed Hassan discreetly meant in his statement to heed the voices of the people, he may now realised that Mahathir is a liability to any party associated with him.
A more delicate siatuation awaits Dato Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to balance.
Till the reasons are explicitly expressed, the non-partisan public will view the current political distraction as purely power play and meant to divert public attention from the massive economic, and social problems besieging the nation.
Since the change of government in May 2018, the current PH government has been incessantly focused on politicking than administering the country. Law and order compromised. Government agencies exploited to vilify the previous BN government than address problems.
Opposition parties were also blamed, but it is the role of opposition to provide check and balance.
The current impasse needs not only an opposition, but a third and stabilising factor to knock senses back to the current government to concentrate on their responsibility than immersing themselves in endless political debates.
Sabah and Sarawak may take up that role.
Out of 222 Parliamentary seats, Sabah and Sarawak take up 25 and 31 seats, respectively. That is 25% of the seats in Dewan Rakyat and could tip both camps.
Since MA63, oil royalty and tax sharing are common interest to all parties in Sabah and Sarwak, there is motive the Parliamentarians to stamp their feet enbloc and tell Malaya enough is enough.
The political impasse and its economic fallout affected the people of Sabah and Sarawak more than Malaya. It is only ego that is holding back all parties from sitting together. However, they have worked together for a common cause in the past.
Sabah and Sarawak MPs from both sides of the political divide cooperated to oppose plan by Bar Council to amend the law that allow encroachment by lawyers from Peninsular. In 2014, an incident involving Peninsular teacher eventually led to a call by both sides of the political divide to successfully pressure MOE to reduce the number of Peninsular teachers.
Lastly, the change in position of Shafie Apdal on PSS is indicative of the pragmatism of Sabah and Sarawak politicians to response to public interest and need of the time.
There may have been bad blood from past political squabbles but Sabah and Sarawak politicians have the maturity to set aside differences to work together for a common cause and bring rationality back to politics. Their politics are generally still relatively polite and less intense as compared to Semenanjong.
On the new coalition, the progress seemed suspect, but the rollout is still as scheduled. UMNO's Supreme Council met on Friday with the outcome emphasising more on strengthening Muafakat Nasional than any mention both in press statement and discussion in the meeting on new coalition.
PAS Central Committee met on Saturday to announce plan to propose vote of support for Mahathir to finish his term at the March Parliament session. From the expected vote of no confidence to come from pro-Anwar coalition, the proposal from opposition threw the DAP, PAN and pro-Anwar PKR block off key.
One Facebooker viewed the outcome could work either way and produce unexpected result to both Mahathir and DAP leaders in government. It would be a bigger surprise should all Sabah and Sarawak MPs abstain from voting.
Unlike Semenanjong, differing political party members and leaders are socially friendly and could talk to one another. It could certainly support their demand for one third MPs allocated to Sabah and Sarawak, allow them the role of stabiliser and protect their MA63 interest.
If Borneos MPs abstain, that could lead to a hung government and subsequently, Mahathir may be forced to dissolve Parliament. It is returning to the people to decide and end the impasse.
Or it may lead to other possibilities. Certainly, local airline could benefit from politicians's travelling to and fro Sabah and Sarawak at a time business is tough as travelers postphoned plan due to the Novel CoronaVirus.
After the Friday and Saturday meeting, MN met on Sunday. Maybe there are scheduled meetings for today and tomorrow in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
Maybe, who knows?