Decision to quit Warisan is for the benefit of Sabahans, says rep

Dr Yusof (seated second right) attended the press conference by Awang Ahmad (seated left) who announced his departure from Warisan to support Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

KOTA KINABALU: Those who left the Opposition are not "political frogs" and the decision to leave Parti Warisan to support the state government is for the benefit of the people, says Sindumin assemblyman Dr Yusof Yaacob.

Dr Yusof, who quit Warisan in 2021, said Sabahans needed to form a united front in order to fight for state rights as enshrined under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

"I know people out there are accusing us as frogs, claiming we were bought and many other accusations," he said during a press conference held by the latest Warisan defector Petagas assemblyman Datuk Awang Ahmad Sah Sahari on Monday (Feb 27).

"It is only their excuse to make us look bad. In actuality, these people don't understand our real agenda, which is for the good of Sabah.

"Let them speak because they don't know our intentions and honesty. I do not entertain such things, moreover by those speaking in Parliament where we can't defend ourselves," he said, in apparent reference to Warisan president Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal's accusation in the Dewan Rakyat.

Shafie had claimed that his assemblymen were being "bought" or "bribed" to cross the floor.

Dr Yusof said, however, he believed the people were smart enough to judge for themselves over their actions.

"The people know who we are, how we think and our vision as well as goals for Sabah.

"It is about time Sabahans unite so as to strengthen the state government and stabilise the political situation in order to implement the agendas under the MA63," said Dr Yusof, who had applied to join Umno after quitting Warisan on Oct 8, 2021.

However, his application was not accepted. He subsequently announced his decision to join Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (Gagasan Rakyat), which is led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, along with three other Warisan and four Sabah Barisan Nasional-Umno defectors on Feb 21.

Towards this end, Dr Yusof, who was a state minister in the Warisan-led government from 2018 to 2020, said they had no intentions to create enemies with colleagues in the peninsula as they were looking at strengthening Sabah.

"Even in the peninsula, I have many friends but they don't understand (why they were switching support).

"But in the Sabah context, those who know about the state are Sabahans; the Sabah leaders who will fight for the state rights. People in the peninsula do not understand our situation in Sabah.

"We want to work together (with colleagues in the peninsula) for the people's welfare," he said.

Accusations of money politics behind crossovers continue to haunt the latest defector Awang Ahmad who was the 10th assemblymen to leave Warisan after the 2020 Sabah snap election. He was also the fourth to quit Shafie's party this year.

Speaking at the press conference earlier, Awang Ahmad denied such speculations, saying he was leaving Warisan to join Gagasan Rakyat out of his own free will and in the interest of his constituents.

"I have no doubts on my decision because it is not only about myself leaving Warisan but it was a unanimous decision by the leadership of the Putatan division including the Wanita, Youth and Wirawati to join Gagasan Rakyat," he said.

He dismissed speculations that there was a reward for his move to Gagasan Rakyat.

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