KOTA KINABALU: Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing's next political move is being closely watched as Kadazandusun leaders in the Opposition jockey for leadership.
Speculation is rife that Bumburing is planning to join either the DAP or PKR, or form a new Sabah-based party to lead the community in the wake of waning support for Kadazandusun leaders in Barisan Nasional component parties.
Bumburing's decision will be crucial, especially with Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who heads Sabah STAR, eyeing to take over the leadership role in the Opposition.
"I am in no hurry, there is still a lot of time (to decide )," said Bumburing who formed the ad hoc Angkatan Perubuhan Sabah (APS) Movement for Change, aligning itself with Pakatan Rakyat, last year.
Bumburing, who won the Tamparuli state seat on a PKR ticket but lost his bid to retain the Tuaran parliament seat to Barisan, said his decision would be guided by the voices of APS members.
"I cannot make this decision by myself. We have to have serious discussions among supporters.
"As far as APS is concerned, we are committed to PR," he said in stressing the decision made would be based on consensus.
As Bumburing keeps his political cards close to his chest, rumours are rife that he might move to DAP because the May 5 election results in Sabah showed that Opposition voters favoured national parties over local parties.
With the exception of Dr Kitingan, most candidates from Sabah STAR and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) were wiped out in the contests between Barisan and Pakatan.
The idea of Bumburing forming a new local party remains on the cards although observers feel that he should consider the national Opposition parties to reflect the current political mood in the state.
With his comrade-in-arms, former Umno supreme council member Datuk Lajim Ukin, who also formed a similar ad hoc movement for change and has since joined PKR, Bumburing might find more room within Sabah DAP to push Sabah and community issues.
Lajim is widely seen to play the role of leading the opposition's Muslim bumiputra front and tipped to take over as Sabah PKR chief following his appointment as Opposition leader in the state assembly last month.
Observers noted that with the defeat of Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok in his Penampang parliamentary seat, and Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Parti Bersatu Sabah president, likely to retire at the end of this term, all eyes will be on who will emerge as the next Kadazandusun leader.
While either Bumburing or Dr Kitingan, both in their 60s, could emerge as key leaders, others, including political upstart Penampang MP Darell Leiking, might rise to the challenge.