KOTA KINABALU: A mass exodus from Sabah Umno has begun with nine of 10 of its assemblymen, five of six MPs and two senators leaving the party on Wednesday (Dec 12).
The MPs who left are Abdul Rahim Bakri (Kudat), Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Beaufort), Yamani Hafez Musa (Sipitang),Datuk Ronald Kiandee (Beluran) and Datuk Zakaria Mohd Edris (Libaran).
The assemblymen who quit are Datuk Musbah Jamli (Tempasuk), Datuk Japlin Akin (Usukan), Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor, Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar (Kawang), Datuk Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif (Membakut), Datuk Isnin Aliasnih (Klias), Datuk Matbali Musbah (Lumadan), Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (Karanaan) and Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan (Apas).
The two Sabah Umno senators are Datuk John Ambrose and Datuk Ghani Yassin.
Only Sungai Sibuga assemblyman and former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin did not follow the move.
Twenty one of the 25 division heads have also quit to join Hajiji in the exodus in which they expect more than half of the 500, 000 registered members to follow suit.
Also leaving the party were Umno supreme council members former Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin and former federal minister Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Tun Said.
Hajiji and Masidi led the press conference to announce the resignations.
Though they did not indicate their next move, it is widely anticipated that some of them will set up Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's Sabah chapter while others might move with Parti Warisan Sabah or other Pakatan Harapan partners.
Two supreme council members of Bersatu, Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff and Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, were present at the press conference.
When asked about the purpose of their visit, Mohd Rafiq said that it was merely "coincidental" that they were attending a programme in Kota Kinabalu while the event was taking place.
Dr Rais said they were having lunch with some of the ex-Umno members as "friends".
Hajiji said he could not speak for Musa on his future party directions while on Bung, he said nobody was being forced.
Below is the full statement by Hajiji
Press Statement by Chairman of Sabah Umno Liaison Commitee (BPUNS), YB DSP Hajiji Mohd Noor
I am making this statement on behalf of my colleagues whose names I will announce at the end of my statement.
1. Umno Sabah is the biggest Umno Chapter in Malaysia with over half a million registered members since its establishment in Sabah in 1991.
2. Umno Sabah has been the backbone of successive state government since 1994 when BN took over from PBS.
3. Umno Sabah is proud of its achievements especially in the development of Sabah since the end of the CM rotation in 2003 when an UMNO Chief Minister took over to lead the State Government uninterrupted for the next 15 years.
4. GE14 saw the end of BN government both at the Federal & State level. In Sabah no party won the election. A state government was formed only because there were crossovers. Contrary to all the political demagoguery, Warisan did not win GE14.
5. GE14 has radically changed the political landscape of the country. The same with Sabah. There are new political equations, unthinkable just a year ago.
6. Umno Sabah accepts the new political realities and are adjusting to them as best as we can. Umno Sabah is a pragmatic party. The well-being of Sabahans & the future of Sabah remain our overriding consideration. So is the unique demographic composition of Sabah.
7. I am proud to say Sabahans are the most tolerant Malaysians. They are also very pragmatic when come to politics. They are politically well-informed. The huge number of political parties in Sabah speaks for itself. They frequently change government if & when they feel they have enough of the incumbent. They dare to make changes with little regrets.
8. Looking at the new political realities post GE14, we are of the opinion that Umno’s relevance in Sabah has become politically untenable. Umno Sabah leaders & members need to move on & chart new political direction. It takes a lot of courage & hard work to build a new political movement & entity. But together we can do it.
9. We have no bitterness against Umno, only some disappointments. I with many of my colleagues have benefited from our association with Umno. Its through Umno that we had the privilege of being appointed as Ministers & other important posts.
10. Unfortunately Umno is not what it used to be. The current leadership lacks clear political direction. We are not sure where Umno is heading to. There are conflicting accounts of the ‘way forward’, depending who you talk to at the top leadership.
11. In our overall analysis of current political trends in this country, we have also taken into account that Umno Sabah have over 100,000 non-Muslim members. Any shift in the political direction of the party would surely jeopardize their continued support for Umno.
12. It’s for the above reasons that we have decided to take the initiative to chart our own political future. We will start by disassociating ourselves with Umno so that we are free to consider all available options to chart our future in the new Malaysia.
13. After much thoughts & discussions among us, we have decided to resign as members of Umno effective today. We are now party-less, & would remain as independents until such time when we decide to join the party of our choice.
14. In view of this decision Umno MPs & Assemblymen, their names which I will announce shortly, are now independents.
15. All Umno Sabah leaders & elected representatives who are leaving the party today have pledged full support to the Pakatan Harapan Government under the leadership of Prime Minister YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In fact all Malaysians should support YAB Tun in his endeavor to make this country great again. Consistent with the above,we would like to also register our pledge to support Datuk Seri Shafie and the state government of Sabah
16. We will work hard to serve the people of Sabah & assist the Federal Government in bringing more development to Sabah which the State sorely needs.
17. The nation is facing huge economic challenges & Malaysians should unite to overcome them. This is not the time for political bickering & quarrels that would only complicate government’s effort to overcome these challenges.
18. I have made it clear from the beginning to all Umno Sabah leaders & members that there is no compulsion in joining us to leave the party. They are free to make their own decision, though I hope all or most of them would eventually join us.
19. We are leaving Umno with a heavy heart but with a clear conscience. We sincerely believe breaking free from the political baggage of the past is the correct decision to allow political renewal for the betterment of Sabah.
20. I thank Barisan and Umno for having given some of us the opportunity to serve the country & Sabah. We will continue to serve the country & our beloved State through a new political vehicle which would be known soon.
21. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Press who has given us so much leeway & we hope we’ll have your continued support.
DSP Hajiji Mohd Noor