UPKO to reward departing president with honorary title as party prepares for future without Dompok in charge - Borneo Insider
PENAMPANG: United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Oragnisation (Upko) is planning to appoint Bernard Dompok as the party’s Honorary President when he step down as president on March 21.
Deputy president Wilfred Madius Tangau, who will assumed the post of acting president on the same day, said he has made the proposal to the party’s supreme council as this will be the right to do for a leader who had served Upko well.
Speaking to the press after Dompok’s announcement that he was stepping down as president here today, Tangau pointed out that the departing president is only stepping down from his party leadership position.
“To me, he still be our top leader. Already, there are very sensible proposals, that the Supreme Council invoke Article 63 (i) and (ii) of our party constitution, and make him Upko Honorary President.”
“I for one will personally make the proposal when the Supreme Council next meets. It is only right to do so,” Tangau said. He explained Artilce 63(i) and (ii) of that the party provides for the appointment of an honorary president.
“Words cannot express how sad we all are that he is stepping down. I believe the majority of Upko leaders, what more the members, will find it tough to digest, if they can understand or believe it at all. Such reaction speaks volume about him as a person, but even more as Upko leader. “
“I also know that despite all his great achievements, he will continue to conquer new heights. His vision and work rate is second to none. And Upko will be with him all the way,” Tangau said.
Tangau said that as acting president he would continue Upko’s tradition of speaking up for the people of Sabah and he would work even harder than before, “to stay true north”.
“I never dreamt to be in this position. But if am given the responsibility, I will draw strength from the support of all the members. And especially the proven guiding hands of Dompok,” he said.
Dompok has meanwhile urged party members to rally behind Tangau, calling him the right person to lead the party into the future.
He said members must show the Tuaran MP the same support he enjoyed as he had all the ingredients required “to continue the work all of us have done together over the 20 years”.
The party’s founder diplomatically manoeuvred around questions about senior party leader, Ewon Ebin, who was not at the press conference at his Nabalu Puru Lodge near here that attended by party supreme council members.
Asked why Ebin was absent, Dompok said he understood that the former was busy with his ministerial duties in Kuala Lumpur.
But questions remain over how those who supported the Ranau MP in a bitter tussle for the party’s deputy president post last year will adjust to the new hierarchy in the party.
Tangau won the election by a razor thin margin and Ebin now has no position in the party though he is a Federal Minister.
Dompok said he saw positives in the party election last year as it was the first time was hotly-contested and showed that there was keen debate and diverging views which was healthy for the party.
The event, he said, could be viewed as a new learning curve for the party for a vigorous and healthy culture in party elections.
“The winner in any party election must be the party itself. I thank all party leaders for the maturity shown in the aftermath of the election. We have passed the test, Dompok said.
The departing UPKO leader also spoke of the party’s contribution to trying to find a solution to the perennial problem of illegal immigrant in Sabah which had been acknowledged by Prime Minister Najib Razak during his visit here last year.
He pointed out that Upko had highlighted the development needs of Sabah and the conspicuous imbalance between Sabah and the rest of the country in many aspects of national life, not only physical but economic, educational, and religious.
“We have to do so with courage, sometimes to the point of becoming irritants to our colleagues but these are realities of political life. There are instances when we need to be pragmatic. But at the end of the day, your compass must always be pointing true north. Otherwise you will never reach your destination,” Dompok said.
On his retirement plans, Dompok said he would remain active in the work of several non-governmental organisations as well as in Upko when necessary or appropriate. -BI