KOTA KINABALU: Umno must continue to strengthen Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, says party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).
He said Sabah Umno should set aside their differences with the nine-party coalition partners that took over the state from Parti Warisan Sabah following the snap Sabah polls on Sept 26 last year.
"We must move forward," he said during Sabah Umno's 30th anniversary celebration dinner on Saturday (Feb 20).
He advised Sabah Umno to put aside any animosity with their political allies and continue the party's struggles.
Zahid was speaking via online conferencing at the dinner attended by Sabah GRS chairman and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.
Umno spread its wings to Sabah on Feb 21,1991 and led the Barisan Nasional state government from 1994 to 2018 before it lost its grip of the state in the 14th General Election when Warisan took over the state government.
Recently, Sabah Umno said it wanted to contest all 14 of the 25 Parliament seats, which include five seats held by their GRS ally, Sabah Bersatu. The five MPs had crossed over to Bersatu in 2019 after GE14.
Sabah Umno and Sabah Bersatu have had rough patches in its relations prior to the state election over seat sharing as well as a tussle over the chief minister's post but the fledging coalition was able to overcome its differences.
Zahid said the people's interests were the priority while others matters should not overshadow it.
He added that the GRS coalition was a model that should be used and implemented in Sabah as Umno is open to working with all friendly parties.
"I believe the people miss us. Don't ever brush the aspirations of the people aside. Use the advantage and opportunity you have now to earn their support," he said.
In his speech, Bung reaffirmed Sabah Umno's commitment to work together in GRS for the people's benefit.
"This state really needs our services as the GRS government so I invite all our friends to strengthen our solidarity and tidy up our machinery. Let us help the Sabah government help the people," said Bung.
Bung praised previous Sabah Umno leaders who played a role in the party and was also proud that the party had churned out many leaders including Warisan's Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who was once an Umno vice-president.
"We have also seen the emergence of Warisan now led by a former Umno leader, my brother Shafie," he added.