The claim by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal that people are “fed up” with Barisan Nasional and Umno in the state is puzzling, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I am puzzled, he (Shafie) himself was part of Umno for decades. His deputy (chief minister) from Upko (Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau) has also been part of Barisan for decades,” said the former prime minister in a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 6)
Najib said that nearly all Sabah Bersatu members were former Umno members, adding that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was instrumental in registering Umno Baru after the original was deregistered in the 1980s when he was the fourth Prime Minister.
“Even the incoming eighth Prime Minister was a former Umno strongman, ” said Najib in his post.
Najib’s post comes amidst a strong push on the ground for votes between former “comrades turned foes” in Kimanis, which was once an Umno stronghold.
However, it has since lost key members to Warisan and also Bersatu when it spread its wings to Sabah in April last year.
Shafie was a former Umno vice-president who was suspended before forming Warisan, which took over the state government with coalition partners from Pakatan Harapan and Upko following the ouster of Sabah’s Barisan chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman after the 14th General Election in May 2018.
Najib also dipped into the controversial Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) for longstanding foreigners in Sabah in his post, hinting that the state government was working with a former Umno leader – the Home Minister – to issue the passes to foreigners.
The federal government is planning to issue PSS cards to replace three cards issued over the years to Filipino refugees, among others, as part of a step to resolve Sabah’s decades-old migrant problem.
However, the opposition is claiming that it is a move to give citizenship to foreigners, which both the federal and state government have denied.