No split in Sabah Umno, says Ahmad Zahid

KOTA KINABALU: Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has dismissed the talk of splits within Sabah Umno amid growing political differences between state chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his deputy Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.“

There is no split,” the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters after opening the Sepanggar Umno division general meeting here yesterday, when asked about Bung Moktar’s push for Umno not to work with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman is seen working to enhance relations with GRS for the next state elections.

Hajiji made a surprise attendance at the annual general meeting, which was led by Abdul Rahman.

Ahmad Zahid said Bung Moktar could not attend the event as he had another function earlier.

“I take the soft approach. My principle is that we have to be friends with all parties. (And) we will make our decision (on partners) when the time comes,” he added.

Sabah Umno led by Bung Moktar had pulled out of the GRS state coalition government in Jan 2023. Hajiji managed to survive the coup with Sabah Pakatan and Sabah Umno assemblymen throwing their support for him.

In the September 2020 snap state elections, Barisan and GRS worked together to topple the then state government led by Warisan and Pakatan Harapan.

Ahmad Zahid said Umno needs to strengthen the party machinery for the state elections that is due by October next year.

In his speech at the Sepanggar Umno division meeting, Bung Moktar said that Sabah Umno must select the right partners and it should not “be played out again” as what had happened with GRS as well as Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti STAR.

“We have been stabbed in the back and front by these parties; we cannot and should not work with them,” he said.

He claimed many of the current GRS leaders had abandoned Umno in 2018 to bring in Bersatu and then form their own party.

“Our time is running out because the state elections will be held anytime. Our stand is that we will be friends only with those who have something in common with us, who have loyalty.

“We will not work with those who have stabbed us. We will not be deceived for a second or third time,” he said.

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