KOTA KINABALU: Cracks are widening in the Sabah Progressive Party’s east coast bastion of Sandakan with branches folding up following the party’s decision to quit the Barisan Nasional on Wednesday.
Fifteen out of 17 branches with hundreds of members in the Tanjong Papat state constituency of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan closed down with branch chiefs unanimously wanting to remain within the Barisan block.
Tan, who quit the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) after party chief Datuk Yong Teck Lee announced the party’s pulling out of the Barisan, held meetings with the “dissenting” branch leaders.
Tan, the 49-year-old founder member of SAPP who declared himself as a “Barisan independent” after quitting the party, said the branch leaders did not support the supreme council’s decision to withdraw from the Barisan.
No longer party members: Tan (seated second from left) and former SAPP members declaring their decision to quit the party inTanjung Papat, Sabah, yesterday. — Bernama
“I am now thinking of forming Barisan independent branches until we decide our future move,” Tan said, adding that forming a new party remained another option.
He expressed surprise over news reports that he intended to take over Parti Setia.
“I don’t even know who the Parti Setia president is and I don’t think he knows me,” he said in response to news reports that he and former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) assemblyman Datuk Liew Yun Fah were consulting each other in taking over or forming a new party.
Liew, a former minister, quit the LDP after he was dropped as a candidate in the March general election.
Tan is scheduled to meet Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman tomorrow when he is expected to tender his resignation from state Cabinet following SAPP’s pullout.
Another Sandakan SAPP leader, Au Kam Wah, who is the Elopura assemblyman, has quit the party and has decided to become a “Barisan independent” like Tan.