The threat of more defections in Sabah will not impact the ruling coalition's performance in Sabah, says Umno Puteri.
Federal level Umno Puteri chief Rosnah Haji Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the defectors will not sway the coalition’s loyal supporters.
“We understand the reasons why these leaders [Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin, Tuaran MP Wilfred Bumburing and Senator Majpol Majpai] left the party.
“And of course, we will look at this as an issue of loyalty because as the president of BN [Najib Tun Razak) has said, loyalty to the party and its struggle is very important.
"It is clear that these principles were not respected by our friends who decided to choose a different direction.
"But their defection will have no impact on all our [BN] efforts here.
“BN is still the choice of Sabahans and Malaysians,” said Rosnah, the Papar MP.
Rosnah, who is also the federal Deputy Health Minister, said the coalition’s confidence was based on the findings of its latest ground reports.
“This is not just empty talk based on uncertain aspirations and facts.
“We are talking based on the researches and responses that we have collected from the ground here [Sabah] with regard to their support of the central and state governments.
“We are confident of our struggle under the leadership of the prime minister and Chief Minister Musa Aman and I trust the people of Sabah are mature enough to weigh the pros and cons of the situation,” she added.
BN optimistic about RCI
Rosnah was responding to questions on the impact of the defections and impending defection of local Umno leaders on the coalition as it heads into a precarious 13th general election.
Sabah and Sarawak are believed to be crucial to BN’s aim of retaining Putrajaya in the general election given the uncertainties in Peninsular Malaysia.
Collectively they hold 56 seats (excluding Labuan). Sabah has 25 parliamentary seats which both Najib and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim are eyeing.
The past weeks have seen the defections of Lajim, Bumburing and Senator Majpol Majpai. They have all claimed that many more BN leaders will leave Umno and the coalition after the Hari Raya celebrations.
Meanwhile, Najib’s recent announcement of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants who were granted citizenship is aimed at regaining lost ground in Sabah.
While lauding the RCI decision, both activists and opposition groups here have questioned his sincerity and timing of his announcement.
Topping the list of concerns is the recently announced terms of reference for the RCI and the time frame for its implementation.
The RCI, they said, does not empower the commission to identify those responsible for the problems in the first place.
The RCI also does not include making recommendations about what needed to be done with illegal immigrants who became Malaysian citizens even though they did not qualify as such.
But Rosnah, however, is optimistic. She is of the view that the people will see the RCI as a positive step by the Najib administration.
“Although the issue [RCI] has been politicised by leaders from the opposition parties, what remains a real fact is that the aspiration of the people for RCI has been met… and that is a first step,” she said.