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Value of Lajim, Bumburing exit debatable

 | July 29, 2012

Some political observers say Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin's exit from BN should not be considered as an act of betrayal.

KOTA KINABALU: As Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing and Lajim Ukin prepare to render their speeches for their respective functions today,  political analysts here have a mix reading of their decision to leave the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition for the opposition.

It is debatable whether their withdrawal is an act of  betrayal of people’s mandate or a vote of no confidence on their former bosses.

For the record, today, July 29, the two Sabah BN parliamentarians are ‘officially’ set to throw their support for Pakatan Rakyat, witnessed by its leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Ending months of speculations, both Bumburing and Lajim had a few days ago made it clear they were leaving Upko and Umno respectively for the opposition but did not declare which party in the Pakatan coalition they would join. Pakatan comprises DAP, PAS and PKR.

Many here are of the opinion that while their act could be seen as betraying the people who voted them as BN candidates in 2008, they are also however in agreement that the duo were in fact “listening” to their respective electorates.

A good number of ardent observers of politics in Sabah are also saying their acts were actually a “vote of no confidence” against Chief Minister Musa Aman and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“If they still have confidence in both leaders, they would have stuck with BN which had been their only party all these years,” said one observer who preferred to be known as Alex.

Lajim wants Musa out

He opined that this argument (lost of confidence) was further strengthened by the fact that Musa, Najib and to a certain extent Upko’s president Bernard Dompok, could do nothing to dissuade the duo from leaving the coalition.

Lajim had in fact declared a few weeks ago that Musa needed to be replaced. It was also said that Lajim had conveyed this view to Najib in their recent meeting.

While many Umno insiders claimed that Lajim actually has the tacit support of Umno vice president, Shafie Apdal (Musa’s rival in Sabah Umno), observers are of the opinion that Lajim wanted to portray a picture of being “independent-minded” and that he scorned the suggestion of him being Shafie’s lackey.

An insider told FMT that both Lajim and Shafie “clicked” and were Musa’s nemesis.

“There’s no traces that Lajim is leaving Umno without Shafie’s blessing.

“It was just speculation, but things could have been different if Shafie is the state Umno chief, and not Musa,” said an Umno insider.

Secretly, Lajim’s boys have been whispering that Musa wanted to replace Lajim with his own man and this has agitated the Bisaya’s in Beaufort who see Lajim as their Janang Gayuh or paramount chief.

“What we could say is that Musa has failed as Sabah BN chief. And this is a big blow to Najib from Sabah. So Musa is now held responsible…” Alex further argued.

‘No betrayal’

Both Bumburing and Lajim had respectively won Tuaran and Beaufort seats in 2008 general election with a comfortable majority. The seasoned duo are expected to return still strong if fielded in the coming election despite an increasing support for the opposition.

Lajim, especially, is believed to be as strong as ever in Beaufort and especially in Klias state constituency which he had been serving and servicing well ever since he first won the seat in 1985.

Another political analyst who also requested anonymity, said the duo cannot be accused of “betraying” the people or coalition as they are leaving their former parties towards the very end of their five year term.

“So they should be exempted from such conclusion. What they are doing actually is a manifestation of a growing dislike among the majority electorates of the corrupt-ridden and condescending BN,” he said, adding that it would be a different story if they had  left soon after the 2008.

At that time Bumburing’s name was openly mentioned in private conversations of Pakatan leaders to be among the MPs that would likely jump to Pakatan to tilt the number in its favour to pave for a Pakatan take-over of the federal government from BN.

However it never did materialise, giving Najib time to sustain albeit precariously, with only a razor-thin majority in Parliament.

Now with the duo having left BN, the vacuum in their respective areas is left to Musa to manage.

It would be a new problem for Musa, already embattled with the on-going investigation related to Swiss bank accounts accused stuffed with laundered money.


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