On the 12th of December 2018, Sabah Umno suffered a major exodus with nine of its 10 assemblymen, five of six of its MPs and two senators leaving the party. Since Pakatan Harapan won on May 9, it was predicted that more and more people will be leaving UMNO. However, interestingly in the case of Sabah, an unexpected face decided to jump on the bandwagon.
Years leading up to GE-14, Salleh Said Keruak has been a staunch supporter of former Prime Minister Najib Razak and a fierce critic of Tun Mahathir especially when it comes to 1MDB.
According to the influencers’ list, prior to GE-14, Salleh appeared to be one of the strongest supporters of Najib; coming in at the fourth position with 2,964 statements, just behind the former Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi who gave 6,689 statements.
However, after Pakatan Harapan took over, Salleh is seen to be missing in action. Could it be that he is no longer in support of Najib, now that the latter is no longer the Prime Minister?
In fact, his media exposure showed a drastic and persistent decrease after the election in May to a point that he went missing in the media. His disappearance can be seen in the month of August, September and November.
Thus, it is surprising for a once staunch supporter of Najib to come out of the blue in announcing his departure from a party that had gave him so much. Although it is reported that his departure from UMNO is done in favour of securing Sabah’s future, we can’t help but to wonder if his move was strictly pertaining to Sabah’s welfare or out of convenience.
Additionally, now that he is officially out of UMNO and had pledged support to the Mahathir-led government, does this mean we will be seeing Salleh Keruak attacking his former ‘boss’ in the media while defending his once nemesis, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad?