Beaufort MP to defend seat on PKR ticket

(The Sun Daily) – Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin yesterday confirmed that he will defend his seat in the 13th general election on a PKR ticket.

“I have discussed with Pakatan Rakyat (leaders) … I will contest under PKR but I am not a party member. I have a new party (in Sabah) but it has not been (officially) registered,” Lajim told theSun when met in Parliament yesterday.

The former Umno Supreme Council member had left the party in July to be a PR-friendly independent MP and was later stripped of his position as deputy housing and local government minister.

Lajim’s departure, along with Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing and several other local Barisan Nasional leaders, has been touted as a signal for an impending wave of support for PR in Sabah.

The duo had then respectively announced the formation of PR-aligned movements – Sabah Coalition for Change (PPS) and Sabah Force for Change (APS).

On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Seri Muhyiddin Yassin, during a walkabout in Kota Kinabalu, reportedly described Lajim as a “traitor” and declared that BN would go all out to reclaim the Beaufort seat.

“Lajim has let the people down, and he was stupid to have left Barisan but we need to look forward and ensure this district continues to be developed,” he said.

In response, Lajim said: “It is OK … The mission for BN is to get more seats and strengthen its government, but in Sabah, people have already said they want change.”

Asked for comment on his decision to set up a new party instead of joining existing peninsula-based PR component parties, Lajim said it is a “normal” move for politicians in Sabah.

“Most important is the policy of the party … It must benefit the people. The party must be able to provide development in Sabah,” he stressed.

Lajim said the winning party must also be able to resolve issues surrounding an influx of illegal immigrants in the state, a long-term concern which he claimed BN had failed to address.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had on Aug 11 announced the establishment of a five-member Royal Commission of Inquiry, headed by former Sabah chief judge Tan Sri Steve Shim, to probe the state’s long-standing immigration problem.