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Citing loss of faith in central leadership, Sabah Umno leaders ditch party

KOTA KINABALU — The mass exodus of leaders from United Malays National Organisation's (Umno) Sabah chapter started on Wednesday (Dec 12).

Sabah Umno leaders announcing their departure from the party at a hotel in Kota Kinabalu.

Sabah Umno leaders announcing their departure from the party at a hotel in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU — The mass exodus of leaders from United Malays National Organisation's (Umno) Sabah chapter started on Wednesday (Dec 12).

Nine out 10 assemblymen, four out of five Members of Parliament (MPs) and the bulk of the party’s state liaison committee announced their decision to leave,  taking with them more than 50 per cent of the half a million Umno members in the Bornean state.

Some 21 out of 25 of its division chiefs are also leaving as well as two supreme council members Pandikar Amin and Salleh Said Keruak and senators Ghani Yassin and John Ambrose.

The move reduces Umno to just 43 lawmakers in Parliament and only one assemblyman in the Sabah state legislature.

The only elected representatives staying are former chief minister Musa Aman and senior MP Bung Moktar Radin.

Former state liaison chairman Hajiji Noor said they disappointed by the lack of development and lack of clear political direction from the party’s central leadership.

“There are conflicting accounts of the way forward, depending on who you talk to at the leadership,” he said.

Mr Hajiji also pledged their allegiance to the Pakatan Harapan government, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as the Sabah Warisan-led government, helmed by Mr Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“There is no bitterness towards Umno, just disappointment. But our decision comes after taking a long hard look at the position of Umno," he said.

“It is based on this that we have decided that it’s time for us to chart our own future.”

He said the elected office holders of the group will remain independents for now, but are in talks with the opposition Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) coalition.

GBS is made of the remnants of what used to be parties in the former ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. AGENCIES

 

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