KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah deputy chief minister Raymond Tan joined Warisan today, about two weeks after leaving Gerakan.
The former six-term Tanjung Papat assemblyman was received into the party by Warisan president and Chief Minister Shafie Apdal at a ceremony in Sandakan.
He was joined by about 35 other former Sabah Gerakan members who also decided to join Warisan today.
Tan, who lost his seat which he held for 24 years to DAP in May last year, said he decided to join Warisan because he felt he could still contribute to the state.
“After the election last year, I thought to myself that since I was getting old, maybe it was time for me to retire.
“But if I’m needed to help the chief minister, I will do my part,” he said.
Earlier reports had quoted Gerakan president Dominic Lau as saying the former Barisan Nasional component party would not contest in the Sandakan by-election due to a lack of suitable candidates when Tan resigned despite being tipped to stand.
However, Tan said that as a party member, he could not have said “no” if he had been asked to contest as it would be disrespectful to the party leadership.
He said he decided to leave Gerakan out of respect and not because he had anything against the national-based party.
“I am not going to elaborate on the reason. It is not important. It is over. The by-election is already halfway through. All I can say is I’m sorry,” he said.
Shafie said Tan had met him recently to express his wish to join Warisan.
“I am honoured because the former deputy chief minister wants to join hands with us to fight for the interest of the people of Sabah,” he said.
He said the government would benefit from Tan joining Warisan because he was both an experienced lawyer and politician.
Commenting on claims on WhatsApp that Tan would be made one of the six nominated assemblymen and also appointed the new health and people’s wellbeing minister, Shafie said Tan did not demand any position.
Tan first won the Tanjung Papat state seat in 1994 on a Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) ticket and retained it in subsequent elections.
He left SAPP in 2008 after the party pulled out of BN and joined Gerakan the following year.
In last year’s election, he finally lost the seat to DAP’s Frankie Poon in a three-cornered fight which also included youth activist Jufazli Shi Ahmad.
Despite the loss, Tan managed to garner 4,002 votes out of the total 10,549.
The Tanjong Papat state seat is under the Sandakan parliamentary constituency.
After the loss, Tan disappeared from the public scene before emerging today to join Warisan.
Only last year, Tan declared himself a “son of dacing” (scales), alluding to the fact that his father made a living by making scales and also because he had always been loyal to the “dacing” symbol of the BN.