After switching sides, ex-Upko man waits for offers

Former Sugut assemblyman James Ratib left Upko last month to support Perikatan Nasional. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sugut assemblyman James Ratib of Upko, now partyless after backing Umno’s Musa Aman last week, is considering a break from politics as he may not be able to defend his seat.

He said he has yet to join any other party after resigning from Upko and it would be impossible for him to contest in the state election as an independent.

If no party was interested in taking him in, he would consider taking a break from politics, he said.

Ratib had left Upko to back Musa’s attempt to unseat the Warisan-run state government. However, the state assembly was dissolved by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri before Musa could show that he had the support of a majority of state assembly members.

“If there are parties that are interested in using my services in Sugut then definitely I will consider contesting, but if there are none, then I will not contest,” he told FMT.

“I still have strong support in Sugut and I am a ‘winnable’ candidate,” he said. He has represented Sugut for two terms, having been elected on a Barisan Nasional ticket.

“Actually there were many (parties) who offered, but I have yet to make a decision because if it (the decision) is made hastily then it may disappoint my other friends,” he said.

He had earlier said in a Facebook posting that he was leaving the political arena, showing a picture of himself in front of a durian tree with the message: “Goodbye politics, the rest of you may scramble to become YB.”

Ratib said the posting has a deeper meaning and did not mean he has given up politics.

He was re-elected in Sugut in 2018, defeating Aspah Abdullah Sani (Warisan), Mohd Arshad Abdul of Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS), and Ag Osman Asibih of Parti Kebangsaan Sabah (PKS).

After the election, Ratib and Kuala Penyu assemblyman Limus Jury aligned themselves with the Warisan-led state coalition, which took over the state government two days after Musa Aman had taken office at the head of a BN state government.

Last month, Ratib and Jury resigned from Upko  and declared their support for the Perikatan Nasional federal government. On Wednesday, he was among a group of state assemblymen who declared support for Musa Aman in his attempt to take over the state government.

However, Musa’s attempt was forestalled on Thursday when chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal announced the dissolution of the state legislative assembly for a snap state general election.