KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno leaders will keep faith with Barisan Nasional despite a spate of defections, says Tuaran Umno chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
The defections saw four local-based parties exiting the coalition and eight Barisan assemblymen crossing over to Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners.
Hajiji said yesterday that Sabah Umno leaders would stay put in the coalition and so would its remaining 15 assemblymen.
The move ended questions on Sabah Umno’s fate. This was because during a press conference on Saturday, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who announced that PBS was pulling out of Barisan, claimed that Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman was going to join PBS.
Three more Sabah Barisan component parties – Upko, Liberal Democratic Party and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah – also left the coalition last week. Upko is now working with Warisan and its partners.
On May 10, barely 24 hours after Musa was sworn in as chief minister, four assemblymen from Umno and two from Upko crossed over to Warisan and its partners PKR and DAP.
This turn of events means that Musa, who was sworn in with his 10-member Cabinet, had lost his 31-seat simple majority.
Musa has been Sabah’s longest-serving chief minister since 2003.
On Sunday, two more Upko assemblymen who were with Musa and Barisan, also announced their move to support Shafie.
This means that currently, in the 60-member state assembly, Sabah Umno has 15 seats, Warisan and its partners have 37 seats, PBS six and Sabah STAR two.
On a separate matter, Kudat Wanita Umno chief Datuk Aminah Ambrose said the Sabah Wanita Umno division heads had yet to discuss their party’s direction.
She added that the Wanita division chiefs held a meeting recently, but there was no discussion on expressing support for anyone in the current Umno leadership.
“The gathering was about fostering a closer bond between Sabah Wanita Umno chiefs after GE14,” she said.
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