Tempers flare in Sabah assembly as Umno, Upko chiefs clash

No hard feelings as Hajiji Mohd Noor (left) and Wilfred Madius Tangau shake hands during a break in the state assembly sitting.

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister and Upko acting president Wilfred Madius Tangau and Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor clashed in fiery verbal exchanges in the state assembly today.

The incident was ignited after Tangau said he left Barisan Nasional (BN) to ally his Upko party with the Parti Warisan Sabah-Pakatan Harapan (PH) ruling coalition in hopes of kicking Umno out of Sabah.

Angered by the statement, Hajiji jumped up to tell deputy speaker Ahmad Abdul Rahman that Tangau, the Tuaran MP and a nominated assemblyman, had no right to speak for Umno.

Ahmad ordered Hajiji to sit down but this only prompted Apas assemblyman Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan to accuse Ahmad of bias.

Hajiji reminded Tangau that if it had not been for Umno, he would not have retained his Tuaran seat.

“He lost in Tamparuli and Kiulu (state constituencies within the Tuaran seat). He only won in Sulaman, thanks to Umno. He has no principles, so don’t talk about Umno.

“No matter how bad Umno is, it is still the party that ensured his victory in Tuaran,” said Hajiji.

Hajiji, who is Sulaman assemblyman, also chided Pitas assemblyman Bolkiah Ismail, another former BN member from Umno who left the party to become Warisan-PH friendly, after Bolkiah tried to cool the heated exchanges.

“You don’t talk a lot over there. All I asked of Tangau was to answer my question and not talk about Umno,” said Hajiji.

Ahmad repeatedly ordered Hajiji to sit down and even threatened to expel him from the chamber but his warnings went unheeded as more opposition assemblymen stood up to defend Hajiji.

They also told Tangau to be more respectful of the assembly.

Ahmad eventually moved on to the next question even though Sukau assemblyman Saddi Abdul Rahman pointed out that the question and answer session had exceeded the allotted time.

Tangau and Hajiji were seen making their peace after the assembly took a break with both shaking hands inside the hall.