KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Osu Sukam has resigned as Papar Umno division chief after his RM7.1mil gambling debts were made public.
The former chief minister and federal minister, however, remains an Umno member.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, who is state Umno chairman, told reporters at the airport here that Osu informed him of his resignation as Papar Umno chief when they met in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“I then went to see Osu at his house in Damansara,” Musa said, describing his beleaguered predecessor as being in a “relaxed mood” during their 30-minute meeting.
“We discussed the matter concerning his gambling debt and he told me he was resigning as Papar Umno division chief with immediate effect,” he said.
Musa said Osu had also expressed his “sadness” that his gambling debt had become public.
“As far as Sabah Umno is concerned, we consider this matter closed,” he added.
He said Papar Umno deputy chief Datuk Rahim Ismail, who is state Agriculture and Food Industries Minister, would take over as acting division chief.
In Seremban, the Prime Minister said Osu had written him a letter explaining his situation.
Abdullah said the letter was private so he would not divulge the contents.
Osu, one of Sabah’s longest serving MPs and a lawyer by profession, first ventured into politics in the 1980s. He won the Papar parliamentary seat in 1984 on the now defunct United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) ticket.
He had served as Usno vice-president until the party was dissolved to pave the way for Umno’s entry into Sabah in 1990 and served as state Umno protem chief that year.
He was elected Papar Umno chief in 1991 and remained in that post until yesterday.
Following his election as Papar MP, Osu was made Deputy Works Minister from 1986 to 1989, and Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister from 1990 to 1994.
In 1995, Osu was appointed Land and Cooperative Development Minister, a post he served until 1998 after which he returned to Sabah and was made deputy chief minister and state finance minister.
After the 1999 state elections, Osu was named chief minister.
Last Wednesday, newspapers reported that the Kota Kinabalu High Court rejected Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd’s and R.H.C. Ltd’s application to enforce in Malaysia an English High Court judgment to recover the debt from Osu.
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