Ex-Sabah BN MPs in Pakatan panel

According to a former Upko senator, current party leaders were ‘trapped’ by PM Najib Tun Razak’s announcement of an RCI which is unlikely to convene before the polls. 

Joseph Bingkasan, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah MPs Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin – the respective leaders of new opposition groupings Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) and Pakatan Pertubuhan Angkatan Sabah (PPS) – are now members of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) national council.

APS is led by Tuaran MP and former-deputy president of United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Bumburing while PPS is headed by Beaufort MP Lajim who is a former Umno supreme council member.

Both the MPs had on July 29 quit all posts that came with their positions as BN coalition members and pledged support to former prime deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who now leads Pakatan.

However, both Bumburing and Lajim have yet to join any of the opposition coalition component parties.

Bumburing’s former boss in Upko, Bernard Dompok, was quick to paint the two former senior BN leaders ‘partyless’ status as indecisive, saying that they displayed the lack of confidence in Pakatan’s political struggle.

Dompok, the Plantations Industries and Commodities Minister, who is fighting his own battle to remain relevant in the ruling coalition, also questioned the need for Bumburing and Lajim to establish APS and PPS as their political platforms.

Dompok likened the Anwar-led opposition “as a duck in the water where on the surface the bird looked calm but underwater it was paddling hard.”

However, APS deputy president Maijol Mahap, an Upko vice-president until he resigned in August this year to team up with Bumburing, has hit back at Dompok.

“It is not for anyone to say whether or not Bumburing has any confidence in any of the political parties that make up Pakatan Rakyat. (Joining a political party) is not his priority,” said the former senator who lost his position after he quit the BN.

Upko has already given the senator post to its deputy secretary-general Lucas Umbol whose nomination was unanimously passed by the Sabah Legislative Assembly last week.

‘Pakatan made up of equal partners’

Mahap disclosed that after going through a series of discussions with several Pakatan party leaders including Anwar, it was agreed that Bumburing and Lajim through APS and PPS, assist the opposition coalition in their quest to topple the BN government and wrest control of Putrajaya.

“In relation to this understanding, leaders from APS and PPS have been appointed as members of Pakatan National Council,” he said.

“Unlike BN where Umno is the dominant force and all the other parties have to follow the dictates of Umno, Pakata) is made of equal partners where no single party dominates the other members of the coalition,” he said.

The former senator also backed Bumburing’s stunning revelation that Upko leaders had discussed pulling the party out of the BN and joining Pakatan.