KOTA KINABALU: Ethnic-based associations were cautioned by Sabah Umno of certain politicians trying to use them as a platform for their own political interest.
Disclosing this yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman told reporters that several Umno division leaders had brought up the issue of the resurging United Sabah Bajau Organisation (Usbo), linking it with Umno.
“This link of Usbo to Umno was not only causing confusion but could also affect the existing unity of Sabah Umno,” he explained to reporters after chairing the state Cabinet meeting here.
Led by former chief minister Datuk Mohd Salleh Tun Said, the MP for Kota Belud, Usbo over the last few months has seen a revamp where the predominantly Kota Belud-based ethnic Bajau association open- ed up its membership to 12 other sub-ethnic Bajau groups that included Irranuns, Suluk, Ubian and Simunul, among others.
The move saw former minister in the prime minister 's department Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (Tempasuk assemblyman) and Datuk Amir Kahar Tun Mustapha (Banggi assemblyman) coming into Usbo, whose acronym sounds similar to the now defunct Parti Usno led by Amir’s father Tun Datu Mustapha Harun who later dissolved it to join Umno.
The inclusion of ethnically influential state Umno leaders into the cultural association is being read more on political lines, with some observers seeing the group that has been seemingly sidelined wanting to put internal pressure on the state’s leadership.
Salleh has brushed aside political motives behind the resurgence of Usbo and stressed that it was mainly a cultural association.
Musa, when asked if the general warning to the ethnic-based associations was because they posed a political threat, replied; “It is advice, not a warning. It’s a precaution as we are concentrating on implementing the 9th Malaysia Plan in Sabah.
At last night’s press conference after chairing the Sabah Umno liaison committee's monthly meeting, Musa said that Umno as a political party was a uniting factor for all bumiputras.