Kuamut rep quits Upko to become independent

Masiung Banah says he decided to leave following inconsolable differences with the party top leadership.

KOTA KINABALU: A United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) assemblyman announced his resignation from the party today to become a government-friendly independent assemblyman.

Kuamut assemblyman Masiung Banah told reporters today he felt the time was right for him to leave the party as he felt he no longer sees eye to eye with the top leadership of the party.

Masiung is joined by Komulakan Upko chief Willy Frous Darinsok and all but two of the Kinabatangan Upko division committee members.

The two-term assemblyman was one of four Upko assemblymen who obeyed the party’s Supreme Council decision to change their allegiance from BN to the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan coalition in Sabah.

He is the second assemblyman to leave the party. Upko accepted Nabawan assemblyman Bobbey Suan’s resignation last month.

“I have worked hard to be in the Upko leadership’s good books but it seems that no matter what I do, I still feel I am not part of the family.

“So, with a heavy heart, I have decided to rescind my posts as vice-president and Kinabatangan Upko chief and leave the party to become a government-friendly independent assemblyman,” he said.

Kinabatangan Upko has 7,500 members and Masiung said he and his supporters will go down to the ground to explain the decision to the grassroots.

Masiung said he had no plans to join any particular party at the moment, including Warisan, as he wants to concentrate on working for the good of his constituents.

Masiung Banah (sitting third from left) and Willy Frous (fourth from left) at the press conference.

He also denied rumours that he would be joining opposition bloc Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS), insisting that the rumours were started by GBS and not his camp.

‘For good of people’

Meanwhile, Darinsok, who quit the party together with Masiung, said he will support Masiung’s decision no matter what as they had known each other for a long time.

“I’ve noticed that whatever decision he takes, it is for the good of the people. I am confident this decision is made in the best interests of the people in Kuamut.

“I apologise to all Komulakan Upko members. This decision is not easy for me but I have to chart my own political future,” he said.

Upko left the BN coalition on May 10 to form a coalition government with Warisan and Pakatan Harapan.

The party had five assemblymen at the time before Sugut assemblyman James Ratib left Umno for Upko.

All except Suan followed the party’s decision to support Warisan-Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Since then, the party has lost its outspoken youth chief Arthur Sen, who has since joined Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). Now, it has lost two assemblymen.