KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno has threatened to close its doors to any talks with PPBM in the state if Rural and Regional Development Minister Abd Latiff Ahmad does not issue an open apology for playing down the party’s popularity in Sabah.
Communications director Ghazalie Ansing said Sabah Umno did not accept Latiff’s claim that his remarks had been misinterpreted.
“We will not hesitate to close the doors of negotiation to Sabah PPBM if Latiff does not issue a special apology to Sabah Umno,” he said.
“This is even though the Sabah PPBM chief previously said they were looking to negotiate with parties aligned with Perikatan Nasional.”
Latiff, who is Mersing MP, made the remarks at a forum, a video of which went viral.
“People in Sabah don’t call it jumping, they call it migrating. From Berjaya to PBS, PBS to Umno,” said Latiff, who crossed over from Umno to PPBM in 2019.
“Now Umno is not popular. Umno I mean is Umno in Sabah. That is the reality because (people) are not confident. All those who have jumped have migrated to PPBM.”
His remarks sparked criticism from Umno leaders who called for his resignation as minister. However, he said earlier today that any decision on the matter would be made by the prime minister.
He also said he had already apologised for his comments.
However, Ghazalie said Latiff’s remarks had been spoken, not written and open to misinterpretation.
He also said if Umno was indeed on the decline in Sabah, neither it nor Barisan Nasional would have won with such a large margin in the Kimanis by-election in January.
“If Latiff recalls, the whole PPBM machinery worked with Warisan in an effort to defeat Umno but we won anyway.
“This is proof that Sabahans are still with Umno,” he said, adding that all the PPBM candidates who had contested in recent by-elections had lost.
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