KOTA KINABALU: After breaking away from the Sabah Barisan Nasional coalition following its defeat in GE14, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) is rebuilding itself.
Describing the GE14 outcome as Malaysians pressing the “reset button”, Upko acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said the way forward for the party was to recruit future leaders and open new lines of communication with the people on the ground.
While the decision to leave the coalition was a tough one, it was necessary in order to keep the people’s mandate, which had chosen Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners after decades of Barisan rule in the state, said Madius.
“This is the time to strengthen Upko and we will go on a massive recruitment drive from now.
“Leaders come and go, but the party struggle must go on,” said Madius in a recent interview on Upko’s way forward post-Barisan.
The four-term Tuaran MP said it was his immediate priority to identify the next generation of Upko leaders, groom them, and provide them with a launching pad to develop themselves as future leaders.
“I want to see Upko becoming the party of choice for Momogun (natives of the land) and young Sabahans.
“I plan to do this by setting up different bureaus for our grassroots leaders to take on issues to serve the people effectively,” he said.
Madius’ sudden move to pull Upko out of Barisan and team up with Warisan and its Pakatan Harapan partners a day after the May 9 general election caught his friends and enemies by surprise.
Upko won five state seats and one parliamentary seat in GE14.
Upko’s Nabawan assemblyman Datuk Bobbey Suan is the only one who did not move with his party to Warisan’s side and is still keeping faith with Barisan.
Madius, who is now Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and the state Trade and Industry Minister, said Upko would also be designing a platform for public feedback.
“I may be in position and power today, but that doesn’t mean that I know it all. I want to crowdsource the best ideas from the talents among us.
“I believe this channel of communication will encourage Sabahans to share their thoughts and ideas with us,” he said.