Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker Salleh Keruka believes that Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin's decision will backfire on him.Joseph Bingkasan, FMT
KOTA KINABALU: Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin quit the Barisan Nasional to join Pakatan Rakyat as he believes that the opposition front will topple the federal as well as Sabah state government in the 13th general election, a senior ruling coalition leader said.
“Lajim ditched Umno for Pakatan to be able to contest Beaufort and likely a state seat.
“Winning the MP seat will pave the way for him to be a minister in a Pakatan federal government or having a state seat, a ticket to be Sabah chief minister,” Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak said today.
He was responding to reports that Lajim, a former Umno supreme council member, was stripped of his federal deputy ministerial post yesterday by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Salleh believes that Lajim has shrewdly calculated his option within the BN and decided he wants to be aligned with the opposition led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim rather than hang on to his federal post.
Lajim, he believes, is relying on his ability to bring in support for the opposition and will use this as a bargaining chip for promotion to a full minister if Pakatan can form the next government.
Lajim’s resignation from Umno and BN has nothing to do with internal problem in Sabah Umno under the leadership of Chief Minister Musa Aman though the MP has openly called for Musa to be removed from Umno as well as Sabah BN chairman, he said.
Lajim had used the oft-repeated claim among BN members that Musa was only looking after “his circle of friends” and had blacklisted them from being given the opportunity to stand as candidates in the coming election.
Speaking to FMT in Kota Kinabalu, Salleh, who is Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker, believes that Lajim has miscalculated and would be proven wrong in the election.
“I believe he [Lajim] does not want to miss the boat… all that he has said as reasons for leaving Umno, which he helped [form the government] by toppling the Parti Bersatu Sabah [PBS] government in 1994, are merely excuses for his mission to stay afloat politically,” Salleh said.
‘Musa is open and accommodative’
Salleh, a former chief minister, said that Pakatan leaders who were going around telling the people that the opposition would form the next federal government “was just a hope or dream” that will never come true.
Lajim is best remembered for his desertion of the duly elected PBS government led by Joseph Pairin Kitingan after the 1994 election together with Kemabong PBS assemblyman Rubin Balang .