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Saturday March 24, 2012

Petition to ask seven-term Mukah MP to step down handed to PBB secretariat

KUCHING: A signature drive for a petition asking the Mukah MP Datuk Seri Dr Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah to step down is said to have begun after Hari Raya last year.

A Mukah PBB member, Sazali Morshidi, who is Kampung Penakub Hilir PBB publicity chief, led the drive which eventually collected about 600 signatures for the petition which was handed over to PBB’s secretariat yesterday.

“It is our democratic right to voice our unhappiness and provide proposals. Of course, the final decision lies with the top Barisan leaders,” he said.

Want a new candidate: Sazali (centre) and other supporters, speaking to reporters yesterday before handing over the petition and the 600 signatures at party headquarters.

This is the second time Sazali has led a group of Mukah PBB members critical of the seven-term MP.

Last January, Sazali said at a press conference in Mukah that the grassroots members wanted a new candidate for the next general election.

Yesterday, after handing over the petition, Sazali alleged that Dr Leo was “not close to the grassroots”.

“We have no grudge against him. We just want a new blood to replace him. Last year a few of us tried to meet with him but he refused to meet us. We wanted to discuss the wishes of the grassroots,” Sazali said.

Dr Leo declined to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday. However, he did say that he had “noted” the petition.

Dr Leo has been Mukah MP since 1982. Since 1987, he has been serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Education.

Between 2004 and 2006, he was Tourism Minister. After leaving the Federal Cabinet, he declared his wish to retire from politics to enter the private tourism sector but would stay until his term was over.

However, during the 2008 general election, he defended his seat and won handsomely against Independent Beat Hai Merawan with a majority of 6,298 votes.

Dr Leo is PBB vice president for the 2010-2013 term. Mukah is one of the major towns under development within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

It comprises the state seats of Dalat (held by Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, who is Welfare, Women, and Family Development Minister) and Balingian (held by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud).

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