The protests against Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, seeking his removal from Kimanis, are clearly an act by frustrated people, claims his division.
Anifah has been a Member of Parliament since 1999 – first in Beaufort, and now in Kimanis.
A series of least expected demonstrations brought to light views that he may have overstayed his welcome.
The dissenting group’s main grievance against Anifah, who is Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s brother, is that he has been the MP for Kimanis for too long and that he is not “native” to the area.
The protests are “clearly an act by frustrated people” who have little knowledge of the development Anifah has brought to the constituency, claims Kimanis Umno division deputy chief Karim Bujang.
But Karim’s comment in a local daily here has little to do with the “development” in Kimanis.
According to reports, the organisers of the three demonstrations held in Dewan Kampung Pimping, Dewan Lama Pekan Bongawan and in Dindong, Kampung Bambangan, Membakut last week had had enough with an “outsider” representing their constituency.
“We want him replaced. We are not very particular about what racial identity of our next MP will be as long as he or she is from Kimanis, ” said Asno Amat Muda, one of the organisers.
Interestingly enough, the demonstrations were reportedly held by members of Anifah’s own division Youth wing and they are threatening to hold more.
‘Kimanis still strong’
But Karim denies that the constituency is divided. It’s a “strong” division, he said, and has a “close rapport with the member of parliament and assemblymen, as well as the grassroots.”
“They are just taking advantage of the current situation when we are all busy preparing for the coming general election. Their claims are baseless.
“Maybe these people who want the incumbent MP replaced are those who do not know and understand about the background of Umno. Besides, they do not get the majority support from the grassroots. Such confrontation should not have happened,” he reportedly said.
But grasssroots members in Kimanis and nearby Beaufort see more of Lajim than they do of Anifah.
While Anifah is urbane and aloof, Lajim is humble and well-liked and considered a “winnable” candidate much to the consternation of Musa’s men.
Lajim is rumoured to be linked to Musa’s arch rival and federal minister Shafie Apdal.
Lajim has reportedly fallen out with Musa and Anifah and is likely to be dropped as a candidate in the coming general election.
The past weeks have been filled with rumours that Lajim would quit Umno and join Sabah Peoples’ Front (SPF).
SPF officials had earlier picked Jan 31 as a “auspicious date” and urged political observers to expect an important announcement linked to Lajim.
‘It’s all about timing’
But Jan 31 has come and gone with no news of Lajim announcing his exit from Umno.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno vice-presidents Hishammuddin Hussein and Shafie paid a visit to Sabah.
Talk is that the visit was aimed at showing off Shafie’s federal links and to consolidate his “clout” here.
Yesterday, FMT was informed that Lajim was busy in Kuala Lumpur, presumably involved in some political “negotiations”.
Earlier this week, opposition Sabah Progressive People’s Party (SAPP) deputy president Amdee Sidek suggested that Lajim was unlikely to quit Umno.
He claimed that Umno leaders at the top had a stack of “files” on Lajim and would “open” them when the time came.
While the Jan 31 dateline has passed, it has not quelled the rumours.
“Patience… in politics it’s all about timing,” said a political insider here.