KOTA KINABALU: As Sabah STAR and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) become embroiled in friendly fights in Kadazandusun-Murut (KDM) seats, Upko believes it is the best to represent the community as it embodies the true spirit of “misompuru” (unity).
Leading the charge is Upko’s chief, Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is being criticised over his move to switch his party’s allegiance to Warisan Plus hours after the GE14 results were announced.
Madius has been under attack by his former colleagues-in-arms in Sabah STAR, PBS and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah as they once bandied together under the same misompuru spirit in the 2018 general election that saw KDM votes staying solidly behind Barisan Nasional.
The question is whether Madius can win the hearts and minds of the KDM community, who has been convinced to go against Warisan as the party is being painted as being incapable of solving the state’s problems, especially the long-standing illegal immigrant issue.
Warisan, which is said to receive stronger support in Sabah’s east coast, only managed to win three KDM seats – Moyog, Liawan and Melalap – in the last election.
This time around, there are 24 KDM seats out of the 73 seats.
But Madius seemed confident that he and other Upko candidates could change the community’s perception of Warisan as its parties proved that they could stand united and not run against each other in the polls.
“It was not easy to reach a compromise but the fact that we were able to do so shows that we are willing to work together, unlike our rivals who are too preoccupied with proving they can win in certain areas,” he said.
Madius was taking a dig at rival Perikatan Nasional’s Sabah STAR and the front’s other allies, PBS and Barisan Nasional, which are contesting against each other in 17 seats.
Furthermore, he said Upko had always been consistent in its cause to defend KDM rights and issues since the party was formed in 1994.
“Upko has a good track record of bringing the community’s issues to the fore. Introducing the Dusun subject in schools and calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah are among our successes,” he said.
He said the party had rebranded itself to include other ethnic groups and would continue to fight for their causes as well.
Madius also believed he did not deserve to be branded a katak (frog) after leaving his comrades in Barisan to back Shafie after GE14.
He reasoned that he had to make that move to ensure the party’s struggle for the community would continue.
“Upko contested six seats in the last election and won five. Barisan lost the election, not because of Madius Tangau. I worked very hard and I won,” he said.
Despite leaving Barisan, he said he had never left Upko.
“I am still a member and president of Upko. So I’m here and I want to say Tangau is not a frog,” he said.
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