KOTA KINABALU: In the wake of the new Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia line-up, a “senior” party warlord is returning to Umno.
Former Papar Umno chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail, a former state Cabinet minister, announced his decision on Sunday (July 14) to return to Sabah Umno, saying that he found that Bersatu was not inclusive.
Among political circles, Abdul Rahim was among a group of state leaders planning to make a comeback to Sabah Umno, which is trying to regroup after the massive December 2018 exodus that crippled the party.
He said he was unhappy that he was left out of the new Sabah Bersatu line-up announced by state chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor recently.
Abdul Rahim, who lost his Pantai Manis state seat in the 14th General Election, was not picked as the Papar Bersatu division chief.
The post was instead given to Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan, who is the Kawang assemblyman.
As Abdul Rahim moved back to Umno, Sabah Umno chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said that they welcome former members, adding that the party remains intact despite senior party leaders joining Sabah Bersatu.
Speaking in response, Sabah Bersatu secretary Datuk Ronald Kiandee said that no-one was forced to join the party and members were free to make their own decisions for their own political future.
“We wish him (Abdul Rahim) all the best,” he said, adding that senior leaders should support the new leadership as this group previously shored up support for the party.
Meanwhile, former Keningau Umno division chief Datuk Sairin Karno, who was also part of the Umno exodus to Sabah Bersatu, said that his membership was never accepted, while his membership in Umno was never terminated.
“I had applied to Bersatu but it was never accepted. My Umno membership has not been terminated. The question of me leaving Bersatu does not arise,” said the former Liawan assemblyman, who said that he was currently concentrating on NGO work.
Apart from Abdul Rahim and Sairin, speculation is rife that several former senior Sabah Umno leaders were planning to leave the party, including some who have been appointed as Sabah Bersatu division chiefs.
However when contacted, the leaders concerned denied that they were moving out and blamed it as a ploy from Umno to disrupt Sabah Bersatu, which is beginning to take roots in the state.
Did you find this article insightful?