Ex-Sabah BN MPs in Pakatan panelBy Joseph Bingkasan of Free Malaysia Today
According to a former Upko senator, current party leaders were 'trapped' by PM Najib Tun Razak's announcement of an RCI which is unlikely to convene before the polls.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah MPs Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin – the respective leaders of new opposition groupings Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) and Pakatan Pertubuhan Angkatan Sabah (PPS) – are now members of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) national council.
APS is led by Tuaran MP and former-deputy president of United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Bumburing while PPS is headed by Beaufort MP Lajim who is a former Umno supreme council member.
Both the MPs had on July 29 quit all posts that came with their positions as BN coalition members and pledged support to former prime deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who now leads Pakatan.
However, both Bumburing and Lajim have yet to join any of the opposition coalition component parties.
Bumburing’s former boss in Upko, Bernard Dompok, was quick to paint the two former senior BN leaders ‘partyless’ status as indecisive, saying that they displayed the lack of confidence in Pakatan’s political struggle.
Dompok, the Plantations Industries and Commodities Minister, who is fighting his own battle to remain relevant in the ruling coalition, also questioned the need for Bumburing and Lajim to establish APS and PPS as their political platforms.
Dompok likened the Anwar-led opposition “as a duck in the water where on the surface the bird looked calm but underwater it was paddling hard.”
However, APS deputy president Maijol Mahap, an Upko vice-president until he resigned in August this year to team up with Bumburing, has hit back at Dompok.
“It is not for anyone to say whether or not Bumburing has any confidence in any of the political parties that make up Pakatan Rakyat. (Joining a political party) is not his priority,” said the former senator who lost his position after he quit the BN.
Upko has already given the senator post to its deputy secretary-general Lucas Umbol whose nomination was unanimously passed by the Sabah Legislative Assembly last week.
‘Pakatan made up of equal partners’
Mahap disclosed that after going through a series of discussions with several Pakatan party leaders including Anwar, it was agreed that Bumburing and Lajim through APS and PPS, assist the opposition coalition in their quest to topple the BN government and wrest control of Putrajaya.
“In relation to this understanding, leaders from APS and PPS have been appointed as members of Pakatan National Council,” he said.
“Unlike BN where Umno is the dominant force and all the other parties have to follow the dictates of Umno, Pakata) is made of equal partners where no single party dominates the other members of the coalition,” he said.
The former senator also backed Bumburing’s stunning revelation that Upko leaders had discussed pulling the party out of the BN and joining Pakatan.
“In fact before July 29, there were suggestion coming from several Upko leaders wanting Bumburing and his group to postpone their intended date to quit BN-Upko.”
According to Mahap, the leaders eventually agreed to let Bumburing go first while Upko leaders sort out some technicalities.
“However all these notions suddenly changed when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak promised to announce the formation of RCI,” he added.
Mahap pointed out that currently Upko leaders are in a quandry and find themselves “trapped” by the announcement as until today the members of the RCI have yet to sit while “the terms of reference unveiled is nothing but a tool to try to appease the people”.
Upko leaders, he said, are aware that Sabah’s broken immigration system has posed a huge problem for the state and the country with no solution in sight and questions are now being asked about how tough or tender the federal administration will be towards the million or so immigrants already in the state.
“What will Upko do or say should the RCI fail to complete its reports during the stipulated time given to it and/or in the midst of it Najib dissolves Parliament and calls for elections?
“Perhaps the RCI might not even be able to sit for their first meeting before the general election is called,” he said, adding that Upko leaders would find it tough to go down and convince locals to defend the failure of the Umno-BN government in solving the problem.