SEMPORNA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) says he was "really hurt" by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal's actions in 2016.
"I was disappointed that when certain situations arose, Shafie stabbed me in the back… I still feel the pain, especially because it was done by a close friend," said Najib.
Shafie, the five-term Semporna MP, left Umno and formed Parti Warisan Sabah in 2016 to take on Barisan Nasional.
Speaking at a gathering here on Monday (April 9), Najib said a leader is only as strong as the support he gets from his party, and that a party can only be strong if there is loyalty to the leader.
"As the Prime Minister, I know that I'm not strong because of the name 'Najib Razak', but because of the three million Umno supporters behind me," he said.
Najib said he had entrusted Mohd Shafie to bring development to the state as the rural and regional development minister but claimed that the latter did not heed his advice to work with Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.
"I gave extraordinary opportunities to Shafie to become the first Umno vice president from Sabah," said Najib.
The Barisan chairman is on a two-day visit to east part of Sabah and will visit Tawau and Semporna.
It is his first leg of a tour since Barisan launched its manifesto on Saturday, which pledged to realise by consensus the rights of Sabah and Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
In the last general election, Barisan won the Semporna parliamentary seat and the three state seats, Senallang, Bugaya and Sulabayan.
But in 2016, Mohd Shafie formed Warisan with Sulabayan assemblyman Datuk Dr Jaujan Sambakong joining his party.
Senallang and Bugaya remained in Umno's fold and are represented by Datuk Seri Nasir Sakaran and Datuk Ramlee Marhaban respectively.