KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has not conceded to Barisan Nasional (BN), which officially took the state on Thursday (May 10) despite protests from Sabahans.
Together with Warisan allies Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), they are set to become a strong state opposition force with almost half the seats in the 60-member state assembly.
"We will not concede," Shafie said, assuring that the fight for Sabahans will go on by Warisan and its partners Sabah DAP and PKR.
Warisan won 35 seats in the first count by the Election Commission but Shafie claimed the number dwindled to 29 after several recounts.
When asked if Warisan would be disputing the results, Shafie said there are other avenues that they can take to fight for Sabahans.
Shafie said that his first act in Parliament as the Semporna MP would be to raise the issue of electoral fraud.
"There is a need to improve the handling of our general elections because we do not want to smear the system of democracy," he said.
Shafie said this hours after Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the fifth term on Thursday night at 11pm.
In Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was unfortunate that Shafie had been stopped from being sworn in as Chief Minister.
Shafie was turned away at the Istana Negeri gates when he showed up in the morning to meet Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin for the swearing-in ceremony.
"This is very unfortunate because I know that Shafie has tremendous support from Sabahans," Dr Mahathir said in his first press conference as the nation's seventh Prime Minister, also on Thursday night.
Warisan and its partners PKR and DAP were initially hoping to form the next government with a couple more assemblyman from Sabah STAR or Barisan.
Shafie and his team won 29 seats matching the number won by Musa's side.
Two seats won by candidates from the opposition Sabah STAR were crucial for either Warisan or Barisan to obtain a clear 31-seat simple majority in the state assembly.
However, Sabah STAR decided to join forces with Barisan to form the state government.
Also on Thursday, Upko acting president Datuk Seri Madius Tangau announced that he was pulling his party out of the coalition and aligning with Warisan.
Upko was originally part of the Barisan coalition.
Madius had told reporters that he would bring five newly elected Upko assemblymen with him, which would have shifted the power balance to Warisan and its partners, bringing their total tally of state seats to 34.
However, it is understood that the five assemblymen from Kadamaian, Nabawan, Paginatan, Kuala Penyu and Kuamut decided to stay with Barisan and not join Upko in its new direction.