KOTA KINABALU: Umno members and the people of Ranau, on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, have begun to accept the events surrounding former Land and Co-operative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.
Datuk Masidi Manjun, who has taken over as pro tem Ranau Umno division chairman from Kasitah, said the party members were already getting back to work for the coming elections.
“They are putting matters regarding Kasitah behind them. They know it’s time to concentrate on the coming polls,” said Masidi, who is chairman of the Sabah Institute of Development Studies.
Kasitah was charged by the Anti-Corruption Agency at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Feb 12 with cheating and corruption, involving shares of the Sabah Land Development Board in Sapi Plantation Sdn Bhd. He quit his Cabinet post on Tuesday.
Masidi would discharge the duties of Ranau Umno division chief, which Kasitah had held, pending the outcome of the corruption case.
He said there was a certain degree of disappointment among Umno members as many had expected Kasitah to be chosen as a candidate in the coming elections. However, he added, they understood that the law had to take its course.
In the meantime, it is learnt that Umno is eyeing the new state seat of Karanan in the redrawn Ranau parliamentary constituency (previously called Kinabalu).
The other state seats in the constituency are Paginatan (formerly, the Ranau state seat), which is held by Datuk Sirigan Gubat of the United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) and Kundasang, held by Karim Adam of Parti Bersatu Sabah.
The incumbent MP there is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who is president of Upko.
Dompok has reportedly said that he will stand in Ranau (the former Kinabalu) although there has been talk that he may go back to his home base of Penampang, now held by party colleague Philip Lasimbang.
If this comes about, Lasimbang may move to the state seat of Moyog whose incumbent, Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun, has voiced his intention not to defend the seat.