KOTA KINABALU: United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) acting president Wilfred Madius Tangau says he took the party out of Barisan Nasional (BN) to escape from the grip of Umno.
Speaking at a press conference here today, the deputy chief minister said it was true that he defected from BN as charged by Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Noor during their verbal clash in the state legislative assembly earlier today.
“Yes, I admit, I ran away from the grip of Umno, that is true. In fact, Upko ran away to be free of Umno because we want Umno to operate in a more suitable place, such as in the peninsula,” he said.
The Tuaran MP, who is one of four nominated assemblymen, pointed out that Sarawak did not have Umno because the party did not have the same culture as the people there.
The same could be said about Sabah with regards to Umno as Sabah’s culture also is not the same as Umno’s, he said.
“So, now nobody can bully us. It is good we don’t have bullies here anymore. Instead, we will continue our struggle together with our friends Parti Warisan Sabah and other parties and we will carry on the work to develop Sabah,” he added.
Tangau also threw a jab at Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president Maximus Ongkili who yesterday branded Upko assemblymen as traitors and demanded that they vacate their seats after their betrayal forced PBS into the opposition.
Instead, Tangau said, Ongkili should study the results of the last election and he would notice that Barisan Nasional (BN), of which PBS and Upko were members, only won 29 out of 60 seats it contested.
“PBS contested in 13 seats and only won six. Most importantly, they lost in Tambunan (where PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan contested) and Bingkor. Had they won the seats, BN wouldn’t have lost (the election),” he said.
Tangau said the people were the ones who made PBS the opposition and Upko was only listening to the aspiration of the people.
He said 60% of the voters in the election voted for the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan coalition and he only gave in to the people’s wish to ally Upko to the new coalition.
“I think, it is enough. Stop attacking Upko. I don’t know why Ongkili is relentless in his attacks on us. The election is over. Please, move on.
“We all want Sabah to move forward and the opposition has a role to play as check and balance to the government of the day. So, stop playing politics because we need stability and peace now,” he said.