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Wednesday September 17, 2008 MYT 6:21:06 PM

SAPP pulls out of Barisan (updated)

KOTA KINABALU: Finally rebellious Sabah Progressive Party has pulled out of Barisan Nasional after a four-hour supreme council meeting.

Except for two opposing the move, 30 of the 32 who attended Wednesday’s meeting backed party chief Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

Yong said his party will remain independent but will work with anyone and be in consultation with various parties including Pakatan Rakyat.

“We are not applying to join Pakatan Rakyat until the time comes when SAPP is ready to be back in government,” he told reporters Wednesday after chairing the meeting at the party’s headquarters in Luyang here.

SAPP’s two MPs - Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepangar) and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) - and two of its four assemblymen are with Yong. They are Melanie Chia (Luyang) and Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan, who is deputy president and Tanjung Papat assemblyman, with Elopura assemblymen Au Kam Wah have disassociated themselves from Yong.

Tan and SAPP vice-president Jimmy Wong opposed the pullout at the meeting while Au did not attend.

Walking out of the 2pm meeting half an hour before it ended at 5pm, Tan said that there was no proper basis to leave Barisan and the decision was not rational.

“I am from Sandakan and the signals from there are quite clear,” he said, adding that he would be meeting Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman to submit his resignation from the state cabinet.

Tan, who claimed that Au had resigned through a text message to Yong, said that he will be making a decision within the next 24 hours on his position in SAPP and whether he will be joining a Barisan component party or forming a new party.

When contacted, Au said that he has yet to tender his resignation letter and will announce what he intends to do on Thursday. SAPP joined Sabah Barisan Nasional in 1994.