KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Noor branded elected representatives who left the party to work with Parti Warisan Sabah and Pakatan Harapan (PH) as unprincipled and dishonourable.
Speaking after chairing the Sabah Umno meeting here today, Hajiji said the assemblymen had betrayed the mandate given to them by Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters and voters.
“They left the party and the coalition because of their personal interests and also because of posts. They are traitors and these traitors would definitely be punished by the voters and the people,” he said.
The six Umno members who left Umno and threw their support behind Warisan and PH are Balung assemblyman Osman Jamal, Tanjung Batu assemblyman Hamisa Samad, Sebatik assemblyman Abdul Muis Picho, Pitas assemblyman Bolkiah Ismail, Kemabong assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar and Sugut assemblyman James Ratib.
United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) acting president Madius Tangau also brought four of five Upko assemblymen out of BN to support Warisan.
Hajiji reiterated Sabah Umno’s commitment to be an effective opposition in the new government, saying that its new status should not discourage its members from fighting for the interests of the people in the state.
“Those left in the party now are fighters who have dignity, sincerity and loyalty to the party’s struggles. The party is strong as long as we continue to hold on to our true principles and we will become a strong and constructive opposition,” he said.
Hajiji also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Labuan DAP ex-protem chairman Lau Seng Kiat who urged non-Muslim Bumiputera Umno members to leave Umno.
Telling Lau to stay out of Sabah Umno’s business, Hajiji said the presence and struggles of non-Muslim Bumputeras in Sabah Umno had nothing to do with DAP.
He said Umno had been present in Sabah more than 25 years ago and had contributed so much to the state, especially in developing the state and protecting the people’s interests.
“Thus, Sabah Umno has become the favourite choice for many among the non-Muslim Bumputeras to join in fighting and serving the people, because they are confident and believe in Umno’s struggle,” he said.
Hajiji, who is also Tuaran Umno division chief, said Sabah Umno had never neglected its non-Muslim Bumiputera members.
“They receive the same treatment and privileges as the Muslim members of the party. They are also free to contest for posts in the party’s election, and even the post of Umno division chief, like Senator John Ambrose and ex-Tenom Umno division chief Rubin Balang,” he said.
“Sabah Umno is sincere in fighting to safeguard and help the people of Sabah, particularly those at the grassroots level.
“Sabah Umno is different from DAP Sabah which does not have divisions and branches throughout Sabah… that’s why DAP cannot serve or provide for all the people of Sabah,” he said.
Hajiji is confident that the non-Muslim Bumiputera members of Umno would continue to be in the party and, together with the party’s new leadership, continue to fight and serve the people.