Sabah Umno rebels will not be fielded in coming state election, says Bung

KOTA KINABALU: Two Sabah Umno assemblymen who are in the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah state government will not be fielded in the coming state elections, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

The Sabah Umno chief said the party wanted leaders with integrity and loyalty to be candidates, and the party will drop the names of those who are not in line with the party anymore.

He said this when asked whether he would still field assemblymen who went against the party’s decision to withdraw its support for the GRS government led by Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor in January last year.

The two assemblymen are Tanjung Keramat’s Datuk Shahelmey Yahya and Tanjung Batu’s Datuk Andi Muhammad Suryady Bandy and both, who are also MPs, have been suspended from Umno.

Bung, a former deputy chief minister, said this after hosting a breaking of fast dinner for underprivileged children and the media at the Promenade Hotel here, Tuesday (April 2).

He said the party will focus on not only new faces but those who were "pure of heart" Umno supporters in selecting their election candidates.

“For now, we are not revealing names yet but they have to be likeable and winnable. We still want them to go to the grassroots and meet with supporters, so that people know who they are,” said the Lamag assemblyman and Kinabatangan MP.

Bung said new faces were needed in politics to keep the party running for the long term.

He said the party would find ways to tie these leaders to the party and prevent them from jumping, without having to make them sign statutory declarations (SDs).

Bung also said that he will continue to lead Sabah Umno with no intentions to be a "gostan leader" (reverse) and defend the Lamag state seat he won in 2020.

However, he said he was ready to make way for a new face if that person was able to strengthen Umno.

“If there is guarantee that Umno will be strong, if not me, I will let go. But as 'ketua panglima (chief commander)', I feel that I cannot be ‘panglima gostan (reverse commander)',” he said.

On questions whether Sabah Umno was willing to work with Pakatan Harapan, Bung said Umno was willing to consider cooperation with anyone as long as they were sincere and could help strengthen the party.

“We will not cooperate with those who are not sincere, who do not keep their words and those who have no integrity,” he said.

He said the party did not need people with no integrity or loyalty.

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