PETALING JAYA: Put your seats where your mouth is. That was, in effect, the response from Umno Supreme Council member Abdul Rahman Dahlan to a claim that Sabah Umno lacked support from voters in the state.
Rahman said Umno politicians who had left the party to join PPBM should resign from their seats and re-contest at their constituency, which they had previously won on the Umno ticket.
This would show whether PPBM was accepted by the people.
“Any MPs who hopped (to other parties) can please resign and re-contest in a by-election. We will see if they can still win. Dare (berani tak?),” he said in an online posting today.
Yesterday, Sabah PPBM leader Hajiji Mohd Noor had said that Umno was in denial about its lack of support in the state.
Hajiji said Umno leaders, especially at federal level, were not really aware about the exact number of members left in Sabah Umno. They remained so confident of the loyalty of their members that they were no longer living in reality.
He said that Sabah Umno had claimed that its 9,000 members and voters would vote for the Parti Bersatu Sabah candidate at the Sandakan parliamentary by-election in May. “But that did not happen because the Umno members had left and joined PPBM and Warisan.”
However, Rahman, who is former MP for Kota Belud, rebuffed the example Hajiji had given.
“Do not say that the Sandakan by-election was a benchmark to measure the strength of Umno Sabah. Sandakan was not Umno’s territory to contest, from long ago,” said Rahman.
(Sandakan was held by BN candidates from the Sabah Chinese Association, Liberal Democratic Party and Parti Bersatu Sabah between 1971 and 2013. It was also held by three DAP candidates and an independent.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob said recently that Sabah Umno remained strong, and that many former members had expressed their intention to rejoin the party.
Hajiji urged Sabah Umno to clean up the party membership rolls to purge names of former party members. “There are not many Sabah Umno members left any more,” Hajiji said.