KOTA KINABALU: Outspoken Sabah politician Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (pic) is set to step down as Upko president tomorrow.
The 64-year-old veteran politician will do so immediately or within a month of his announcement to facilitate a smooth transition, party sources said.
The decision to resign comes nearly 10 months after Dompok, a former federal minister, was defeated by Darell Leiking of PKR in the Penampang parliamentary seat in the last general election.
Sources said he intended to make way for younger leadership to take over Upko by giving them ample time to prepare for the next general election.
Upko deputy president Datuk Wilfred Tanggau may take over as acting president.
Neither Dompok nor Tanggau could be reached for comments.
Party sources said they were also hoping to recommend to the prime minister for Tanggau to take over as a federal minister, replacing Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin.
Dompok was widely credited for his outspoken views of state rights and religious issues and was instrumental in getting the Kadazandusun language introduced as a subject in Sabah schools.
Dompok’s political career started in 1985 with the then fledgling Parti Bersatu Sabah, led by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, that toppled the Berjaya government of Datuk Harris Salleh.
However, Dompok left PBS with many senior leaders to form Party Democratic Sabah (renamed Upko) as the three-week-old PBS government collapsed in a spate of defections after the 1994 state elections.
In the 1999 state elections Dompok, who was then chief minister, was defeated in his Moyog state seat.
He later moved from his Penampang hometown to Ranau parliamentary seat where he successfully won the seat in the 1999 general election.
He was then made a federal minister.