The man Mahathir supports: Sabah chief Shafie Apdal

Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (centre) with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on June 24, 2018.
Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (centre) with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on June 24, 2018.PHOTO: BERNAMA

Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was born on Oct 20, 1956, in the Semporna district of Sabah.

A nephew of Sabah's sixth chief minister Sakaran Dandai, Mr Shafie joined Umno in 1994, shortly after the party set up its first base in Sabah during the premiership of Mahathir Mohamad.

He was first elected as the MP for Semporna in 1995, and has held the seat for six consecutive terms.

In the 2018 elections, contesting for the first time since leaving the party, he even increased his majority at the polls.

After holding several deputy minister portfolios during the premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir, he was made a full Cabinet minister in 2004, following the appointment of Dr Mahathir's successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Mr Shafie was the first Sabahan to be elected as an Umno vice-president in 2009, a position he retained in 2013. He was one of the prominent Cabinet ministers who was critical of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy during former premier Najib Razak's administration.

He was swiftly removed from the Cabinet by Mr Najib and left Umno the next year to form Parti Warisan Sabah, as Dr Mahathir returned to mainstream politics and formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Mr Shafie formed Warisan as a Sabah-based party and developed an electoral pact with Dr Mahathir and his allies in Pakatan Harapan, but opted against formally joining the coalition.

Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan partners narrowly won the state legislature elections for Sabah in 2018, leading to Mr Shafie being appointed the Sabah chief minister.

 
 

Following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan federal government earlier this year, Mr Shafie continued to back Dr Mahathir when Bersatu was splintered into two by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who subsequently formed a new federal government.

Mr Shafie's government remains one of only three state administrations aligned to Pakatan Harapan after the pact lost federal power.

Sabah Umno made claims this past month that there would be a change in Sabah's administration that is beset by resignations of assemblymen allied to the state government and also several of Warisan's own grassroots leaders.