KOTA KINABALU: A former Upko leader has criticised Chief Minister Shafie Apdal for insulting the intelligence of the people by saying his deputy Wilfred Madius Tangau is not a political “frog”.
Political activist Arthur Sen, who was Upko’s former youth chief, said Shafie’s statement was only intended to make Tangau, the Upko acting president, look good.
“If the move (by Tangau) is not ‘political frogging’, then what is best to describe the jump or defection? Shafie’s statement has the element of helping a subordinate and is purely political in nature.
“I personally respect him for this… jaga kawan (looking out for a friend),” he said, tongue in cheek.
“It is understandable because the move triggered many more ‘jumps’ and he (Shafie) benefited the most from all these jumps to become the chief minister,” Sen said.
Shafie said yesterday that Tangau did not ask for personal favours when the Tuaran MP contacted him after the May 9 general election.
He said Tangau expressed his intention to form the state government with Warisan and allies PKR and DAP and did not ask for position, rank or projects.
“He said ‘Datuk Seri, we want to form the government with you’… he didn’t ‘jump’. He is not like (Sabah opposition leader) Jeffrey (Kitingan) or (Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah president) Lajim (Ukin),” Shafie said.
“He called me up and spelled it out quite clearly. He said this is the opportunity for us to kick Umno and Barisan Nasional out of Sabah and I told him by all means, please come over.”
Speaking to FMT, Sen said the argument presented by Shafie that Tangau had not asked for perks and only wanted to kick Umno and BN from Sabah was “very loose”.
“The argument that he (Tangau) had not practised the ‘frogging’ culture is very loose, segmented and not holistic.
“My question is why didn’t Tangau bring Upko out of BN before the polls and campaign against Umno and BN openly if he genuinely wanted to stop BN from governing Sabah?
“If Tangau had done that before then I would agree 100% with Shafie and not say anything. In fact, I will defend the truth with Shafie. (But) this action is encouraging the culture of stabbing a friend in the back,” he said.
Sen also reminded Shafie that during the campaign period for the 14th general election, Tangau campaigned heavily against Warisan and Pakatan Harapan (PH), even accusing Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being involved in Project IC.
He added his former party boss also vouched that the RM2.6 billion deposited into former premier Najib Razak’s bank account was a donation from the Saudi Arabia royal family.
It was clear that Tangau wanted the BN to win and not Warisan or PH, he said.
“But suddenly, not even 24 hours after the GE14 results, he contacted Shafie in order to work together to oust BN who clearly had a simple majority at the time. How do you define that?
“Try having one of its political allies do this to Warisan or PH, what would they say? I feel that Shafie has insulted the people’s intelligence. Sorry but I can’t find a better word than this,” Sen said.
“I hope I won’t be penalised for practising an open political culture and also freedom of speech. Let’s uphold and improve our democratic practices for the benefit of future generations.”