Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is unperturbed by the aborted plans of two BN MPs who were supposed to announce their defection yesterday.
Joseph Bingkasan and Joseph Tawie, FMT
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah politics is all about hanging on to power and the latest postponement of the over-hyped “pullout” from the Barisan Nasional by two government MPs facing the axe in the coming general election stressed this.
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president and Tuaran MP Wilfred Bumburing and Umno supreme council member Lajim Ukin, who is MP for Beaufort, are looking at ways to defend their seats in a desperate political gamble.
They were scheduled to declare their resignation at functions in Tuaran and Beaufort yesterday in the presence of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
But this has now been “re-scheduled” to next month, according to sources. Sources noted that the “new” date for the “jump” is Aug 26.
Both leaders were to quit the ruling national coalition but stay on as independent MPs until the dissolution of Parliament.
Earlier rumours were that both former Deputy Chief Minister Bumburing and Federal Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Lajim would join PKR. However, they both have since denied this.
But an opposition leader here said it is an open secret that both leaders are in discussion with Anwar to defend their respective parliamentary seats under the PKR symbol.
“This has not gone down well with loyal Sabah PKR leaders. Should Tuaran be contested by Bumburing on a PKR ticket, there will be no place for local PKR leader Ansari Abdullah and Kalakau Untol,” the politician said.
Ansari is a senior lawyer and was among the pioneer leaders in bringing PKR into Sabah while Untol, a Tuaran-born leader, was a former federal deputy minister and one-time MP for Tuaran.
Anwar still open to Mps
In KUCHING, meanwhile, Anwar said Pakatan’s doors were still open to Bumburing and Lajim and “everyone” who is “clamouring for change”.
Responding to questions about the duo, Anwar said: “What is important is not just the positions of Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukim.
“What is important is what the Sabahans want. Leaders must respect and respond accordingly.
“I certainly welcome them if they dare to respect the wishes and the sentiments of the Sabahans.”
Anwar was supposed to be in Sabah yesterday to personally welcome Bumburing and Lajim into the opposition fold. But instead he was in Kuching.
Many are of the view that Bumburing and Lajim are playing “tarik tali” with the BN leadership and that their much touted defection was merely a “wayang kulit” (shadow play).
But Anwar dismissives this view.
“The point the people in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak miss is that they must join force and demand for change in this country.
“It’s not just MPs and individuals, but everyone must clamour for total change.
“We certainly welcome people committed to reform, people who understand ‘Buku Jingga’ and the struggles and principles of Pakatan Rakyat.”