Will Upko's Wilfred Bumburing and Umno's Lajim Ukin announce their exit from their respective parties on July 15?
KOTA KINABALU: National coalition MPs Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin are expected to announce their pullout from their respective parties during gatherings in Tuaran and Beaufort, respectively on July 15.
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will be attending both functions where the two are expected to become “independent” MPs.
Bumburing who is Tuaran MP will make his much awaited announcement in Tuaran in the morning while in the afternoon Beaufort MP Lajim is to formalise his departure from the BN at his hometown in Beaufort.
Although both leaders would be declaring that they are leaving the government coalition parties in the presence of Anwar, they are not expected to join either PKR or other opposition Pakatan Rakyat component members.
Bumburing, a former Deputy Chief Minister and ex-Tamparuli asemblyman is BN’s component United Pasokmomogun Dusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president while Lajim, the current Federal Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister, is an Umno supreme council member.
Both leaders, who were founder members of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) before leaving the party led by Joseph Pairin Kitingan in 1994, had openly announced that they would be contesting to defend their respective seat in the coming general election.
The announcement by Bumburing and Lajim on Sunday will put to an end to months of speculation that they are leaving their respective parties, ahead of the general election as both are unlikely be nominated by BN to defend their seats.
The two were supposed to announce their departure from the BN on June 10 also in the presence of Anwar but the plan was thwarted by heavy rains that prevented Anwar’s flight from touching down at Kota Kinabalu International Airport on time making it impossible for him to keep his appointments in Tuaran and Beaufort, both about an hour’s drive away.
Anwar is confirmed to attend this weekend’s events and organisers of both gatherings have also extended invitations to the Sabah chapter of the State Reform Party (STAR) which is headed by Jeffrey Kitingan.
STAR deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun told FMT in Kota Kinabalu today that his party had been invited to both functions and the leaders attending would be seated alongside Anwar and other opposition leaders.
Jambun did not say whether Kitingan would be attending but said all STAR leaders would be in Labuan the following day (July 16) for the launching the newly formed party’s division in the Federal Territory.
Bumburing, who is NGO Amanah deputy president and head of the Sabah chapter, is said to be leaving BN to enable him to contest having made a pledge in 2008 with Upko secretary general Wilfred Tangau to step aside for him in the next general election.
They agreed that Bumburing would contested Tuaran and remain MP for one term before “returning the seat” to the latter in the coming election. In the last election Tangau was the incumbent MP.
In Lajim’s case, he had stated last month that Umno would not give him the opportunity to defend Beaufort which prompted him to resign as head of the party branch and decline election for the Beaufort division.
In resigning as a branch head, Lajim said he would be defending Beaufort in the election but stopped short of saying what ticket he would be using to contest against BN.
He claims to have the solid support of the voters in his constituency.