Talk of defections in Sabah fizzles

(The Star) – Talk of defections by at least two Sabah Barisan Nasional MPs appears to be fizzling out.

An announcement was widely speculated to be made at a Pesta Kaamatan function organised by Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) in Kota Belud Sunday afternoon.

However, it did not materialise as expected around 4pm.

Continuous rain from early morning put a damper on the event as well as the speculations.

Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, who is Sabah Amanah chairman, was at the event.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was expected to attend, was a no show as his flight to Kota Kinabalu was diverted to Labuan due to bad weather for nearly three hours.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, who is Beaufort MP, did not attend the function.

Bumburing, when contacted, denied the latest round of rumours that have been floating around over the last six months.

“This is an Amanah function, nothing to do with politics. I am not leaving (the Barisan),” he said, in a telephone interview.

Asked if Anwar was supposed to have turned up at the function, he replied that it was not a political event and that anyone could attend.

Anwar, who arrived in Kota Kinabalu at about 5.30pm, went directly to attend a Sabah PKR function at a hotel here.

He apologised to the organisers of the Kaamatan celebrations for not being able to attend the function due to the flight diversion.

“Bumburing and I were invited for the function. I could not make it due to the flight diversion,” he said, downplaying the speculations.

Asked if Bumburing was joining PKR, he replied: “You should ask him.”

Some 20 flights into Kota Kinabalu were diverted to Labuan and Brunei earlier today due to inclement weather.