It's payback time, and current Tuaran MP Wilfred Bumburing must face up to Upko secretary-general Wilfred Madius Tangau's desire to contest his old seat.
KOTA KINABALU: Tuaran MP Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing, the man at the centre of a tug-of-war between the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and the opposition, has again denied he plans to leave his party ahead of the 13th general election.
But he did hint that that several others will “jump ship” when the election is called.
Bumburing, who is United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president, said for now, speculation that nine MPs and assemblymen are ditching the ruling coalition was baseless.
The former Sabah deputy chief minister also said it was not true that he was on his way out because it was unlikely he would be given a chance to defend his seat.
“Many people think I am leaving BN but this is not true. I will make a formal announcement should I finally decide to say good-bye to BN,” he said.
Bumburing said this political speculation could had been the result of him having joined the Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah-led NGO Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah).
He had also been seen with opposition leaders during the many Pesta Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) celebrations organised and hosted by opposition parties in May.
Bumburing, a former assemblyman for Tamparuli, has also been vocal in calling on the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the massive number of illegal immigrants in Sabah being issued with MyKads.
In the 2008 election, Bumburing was fielded instead of then incumbent Wilfred Madius Tangau, the Upko secretary-general.
Tangau was miffed that he had been overlooked in the distribution of seats to BN component party candidates.
Tangau, a ‘hurt’ man
Bumburing polled 17,645 votes to retain the seat for BN with a 6,622 majority against his nearest rival Ansari Abdullah of PKR, who garnered 11,023 votes. Independent candidate, Ajin Hazin Gagah, lost his deposit when he only managed 879 votes.
Upko president Bernard Dompok, when asked recently of his deputy’s imminent departure from the party, said that the question should be directed to Bumburing.
“Those questioning Bumburing’s position in the party should get the answer from him. You should ask him personally because you would not believe what I say,” Dompok said.
Meanwhile, although Tangau has not been openly lobbying to be fielded in Tuaran, he has been on a tour of his former parliamentary constituency over the last few months.
When he was sidelined and not fielded to defend Tuaran in the last election, he told FMT that it hurt “just like one’s fiancée being taken or eventually wedded by the best man”.
Tangau, it is learnt, wants to contest the seat this time around to honour a pact he made with Bumburing in the 2008 election.
The deal was that Bumburing would stand for one term as MP and Tangau would be given the seat in the 13th general election.
Whether Bumburing or Tangau is fielded by BN, the opposition PKR will likely be fielding Ansari again or another former Tuaran MP Kalakau Unto