KOTA KINABALU: The tussle for the Sabah chief minister’s post, between Parti Warisan Sabah and Barisan Nasional, brings back memories of the time Joseph Pairin Kitingan was left waiting outside the palace gates for 36 hours.
In 1994, Pairin, president of Parti Bersatu Sabah, and his ally, Tun Datu Mustapha Harun, had won the state assembly elections after a fierce contest with the Barisan Nasional, which had the backing of federal leader Mahathir Mohamad.
Fearful of defections, Pairin waited outside the Sabah palace even before all seats had been declared. He and Mustapha were made to wait in their car for 36 hours, before Pairin was sworn-in.
But within weeks, his supporters defected to BN, beginning with PBS deputy president Lajim Ukin, then other party leaders including Joseph Kurup and Bernard Dompok.
Lacking a majority, Pairin was forced to resign, and Sakaran Dandai of Sabah Umno became chief minister.