Upko’s Ewon leaves party, citing leaders’ failure to resolve migrant issue

Ewon Ebin (seated centre) and other Upko Ranau leaders announcing that they have quit the party.

KOTA KINABALU: Upko supreme council member Ewon Ebin today announced that he is quitting the party along with 5,000 members, including committee members from the Ranau division.

Ebin cited the failure of the Upko leadership and the government to resolve the illegal immigrant woes in Sabah, and the inconsistent stand of the party’s top leaders over the issue.

His resignation comes after another former Upko leader, Marcus Mojigoh, who was the Putatan Upko chief, resigned from the party on Jan 27.

“After discussing with the leaders of the division, branches and members from the Ranau Upko, today, I, along with division commitee members, the youth body, women and Komulakan, as well as members, numbering around 5,000 plus, resigned from Upko and relinquish all our positions with immediate effect,” said Ebin, who was the Science and Technology and Innovation Minister during the Barisan Nasional administration, here, today.

The former Ranau MP is said to have been involved in talks with other opposition leaders from Gabungan Sabah.

Gabungan Sabah, believed to be led by former Kimanis MP Anifah Aman, is a move to unite the Sabah opposition parties under one body, by merging opposition parties that did not have seats to a single party and also forming partnerships with other opposition parties.

The discussions involve SAPP, Sabah Star, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah, Parti Cinta Sabah, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri Sabah.

“The direction and struggles of Upko have gone far off its original goal to protect and defend the welfare and interest of members, the indigenous Sabahans, and other Malaysians from Sabah.

“Although, the Warisan-led state government had decided to call off the issuance of the Temporary Sabah Pass (PSS), there are still talks among leaders from the ruling parties that the PSS would still be implemented. It will be modified so it can be accepted by the people,” he said.

Upko Ranau has over 120 branches, while Ebin was one of the founding members of the party registered on March 21,1994.

Ebin had served as the party’s vice-president, the divisional head for Kundasang which was renamed Ranau, as well as the organising chairman of the Parti Demokratik Sabah (PDS), which was later named Upko on Oct 30, 1999.