Ewon Benedick to be new Upko president after Tangau pulls out of race

Tangau (wearing cap) and Benedick joining hands in solidarity of the party.

KOTA KINABALU: The stage is set for Datuk Ewon Benedick to become the new Upko chief after incumbent president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau pulled out of the party's presidential race.

Tangau announced his decision in a special press conference on Wednesday (Sept 28), saying the Opposition party will feature a new leadership with a fresh perspective following its internal polls in the Upko triennial delegates convention on Oct 15 and 16.

He said this decision was unanimously agreed by the party leaders after they assessed that Benedick, the Upko vice-president, was ready to shoulder the responsibility to spearhead the party.

"As such, I have decided not to defend the Upko presidency for the coming term," the Tuaran MP told reporters at Upko's headquarters in Penampang near here.

"With this, I wish to announce that the new president will be Ewon, who is also Kadamaian assemblyman," he added.

Benedick, 39, will go into the party election next month uncontested for the president's post.

Benedick said he understood the challenges ahead and what is expected of him.

He said he had witnessed a previous leadership transition before when Upko founder Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok handed over the top post to Tangau.

"Based on the spirit of togetherness in Upko, I believe the responsibility is not shouldered alone by the president but together with the party – especially those sitting in the Supreme Council.

"No matter how big the challenge will be, we've been through it before.

"I am willing and ready to shoulder the challenge given to me by the party's leadership," Benedick said.

Tangau said he respected those who wanted fresh party leadership, saying stepping aside would ensure Upko remained intact.

However, he said he would be the next Upko honorary president, replacing Dompok.

"I may not be chairing the Supreme Council meeting anymore, but I will be very much part of the party leadership by playing a different role," Tangau said.

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Upko , President , Madius Tangau , Ewon Benedick


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