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‘Upko debated ditching BN’

 | October 30, 2012

Former Upko deputy president Wilfred Bumburing revealed details of secret meetings held with party president Bernard Dompok over Upko's status in BN.

KOTA KINABALU: Senior leaders of United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) met early this year to discuss pulling out from Barisan Nasional, a former top party leader said today.

Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing, the party’s former deputy president who resigned recently, disclosed that party leaders discussed the possibility of consenting to the `silent’ wishes of the party’s grassroots members for Upko to leave the ruling coalition government.

Bumburing, who resigned from Upko and as BN head for Tuaran on July 29 and now heads the opposition-friendly Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS), said he had met with Upko president Bernard Dompok at least eight times to discuss the matter.

The Tuaran MP revealed the secret meetings to clear up allegations by certain BN leaders especially those from Upko that he quit the party because he was not going to be fielded to defend his seat in the coming general elections was not true.

“There is no truth in these allegations. In fact prior to July 29, I and a few other Upko leaders officially declared our decision to leave BN,” he said.

He said Dompok, a Minister in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s federal cabinet, was well aware of the widespread dissatisfaction in the party over its position as a prop for the Umno-led coalition government.

“On at least on three of the (eight) occasions, Bernard (Dompok) insisted I stay put in Upko and personally asked me to stand and defend the Tuaran parliamentary seat for BN,” Bumburing said in a statement posted in APS’s facebook page.

“However, by then I have already made the decision to leave Upko and BN,” he pointed out, adding that another allegation making the rounds that he quit because he lost the divisional chairman post in the election of Upko Tuaran divisional committee members was also BN slander.

He disclosed that prior to the divisional meeting in 2011, he was told by the nomination committee that he had won the chairman’s post uncontested but he rejected the nomination and asked the committee to conduct another nomination exercise.

He said he also refused to be nominated as BN candidate for Tuaran constituency.

“The whole issue of me and my colleagues in quitting BN is the failure by the BN federal government to resolve the issues of illegal immigrants and the extraordinary population increase in Sabah over the last two decades,” he said.

No respect for Sabah

But Bumburing, a former deputy chief minister, said the disagreement with the BN federal and state government went beyond that of just the issue of illegal immigrants.

Apart from faulting the BN government for ignoring native customary rights over land with thousands of natives displaced by or trapped in forest reserves that have been placed under the Forest Management Units (FMU) which were threatening their very livelihood, he said the BN government had clearly shown itself to be biased.

The failure of the state government to fairly distribute welfare aid to all deserving such assistance clearly demonstrated this, he said.

Adding to the grievances felt by Sabahans, he said, was the fact that BN leaders at federal level had little respect for the guarantees made in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 when Sabah joined in the formation of Malaysia.

Guarantees that should have protected the rights of the natives of Sabah had almost vanished, he said, adding that while natives in the interior of Sabah were hard pressed to get birth certificates and obtain identity cards for their children, illegal immigrants were easily obtaining citizenship documents.


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