KOTA KINABALU: The sons of two founding fathers of Sabah – Datuk Salleh Tun Said and Datuk Amir Kahar Tun Mustapha – are out of the line-up for Sabah Umno which has injected 13 new faces for its 13 parliament and 32 state seats.
Seen as the end of the Tun Mustapha and Tun Said Keruak political lineage from the Usno era, Amir Kahar has held the Banggi state seat for 22 years while Salleh, a former rotated chief minister, has represented the Bajau heartland as Kota Belud MP since 1995.
Salleh is the president of the United Sabah Bajau Organisation (Usbo) in which Amir Kahar serves as treasurer.
Salleh was replaced by Umno Youth assistant secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, a lawyer, and Amir by Abdu Mijul Unaini, a Kudat Umno leader.
Also axed from the Umno list was Usbo secretary-general Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, a former Federal minister and dissolved Parti Akar president. He was replaced by Musbah Lamli, an ex-Umno assemblyman, for the Tampasuk state seat.
Expressing his surprise over his exclusion, Pandikar Amin wondered why the top Usbo leaders were removed.
“Will people read this as an elimination process of leaders who come from the Bajau community?” he asked, adding he was a “party man” and would remain in Umno.
In announcing the names of 50 of 60 state and 19 out of 25 parliament seats, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman told a packed press conference: “We have a mix of new and old faces. We will go in as one team. This is Sabah’s best choice.”
Among the notable state Umno figures excluded were Parliament Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (Sipitang), Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Samsu Baharom Abdul Rahman (Silam).
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, who is Musa’s brother, will remain in the Kimanis MP seat while Musa’s son-in-law Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif has been retained for the Membakut state seat.
Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun will move to the Klias state seat held by Datuk Lajim Ukin who will take over her Beaufort seat.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Sapawi Ahmad is slotted for Dr Yusof’s Sipitang seat.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal will be going for a fourth term in the Semporna parliament seat while his cousin Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran, a state minister, will defend his Senallang state seat.
In the state seat of Kunak, former Usno strongman Nilwan Kabang replaces Datuk Jasa Raudah.
Two businessmen Datuk Harman Mohamad and Datuk Ramli Marhaban will replace incumbents Datuk Mohd Lan Alani of Sulabayan and Datuk Basali Abdul Hamid of Buggaya respectively.
The surprise inclusion is Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin who was said to be high on the drop list because of his controversial remarks.