KOTA KINABALU: Five Sabah Umno assemblymen left the party today to join Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (Gagasan Rakyat).
The five, Sindumin assemblyman Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (pix), Datuk James Ratib (Sugut), Datuk Jasnih Daya (Pantai Dalit), Datuk Mohd Arsad Bistari (Tempasuk) and Datuk Hamild @ Hamid Awang (Balung) will be joined by three former Parti Warisan (Warisan) representatives, Banggi assemblyman Mohammad Mohamarin, Norazlinah Arif (Kunak) and Chong Chen Bin (Tanjong Kapor).
Speaking at a media conference with the seven other assemblymen, Yusof said they made the decision to quit Umno and join Gagasan Rakyat as it was in line with the need for political stability in the country and Sabah, having realised that Sabah leaders should unite to champion the rights of the state as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
He said prolonged political strife would only hinder Sabah’s development, so political stability was important to boost the confidence of local and foreign investors.
“We are prepared to face any action from Umno following our decision to join Gagasan Rakyat,” he said, adding that the eight assemblymen also fully supported Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Gagasan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s leadership to helm Sabah as chief minister.
Following this development, Umno now has only 13 assemblymen in the Sabah state assembly while Warisan is left with 16 representatives in Sabah and one in Selangor.
On Jan 8, Yusof, James, Jasnih and Mohd Asrad, along with Tanjung Keramat assemblyman Datuk Shahelmey Yahya from Umno decided to continue supporting Hajiji even after Sabah Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin announced that the party had withdrew its support.
The current Sabah state assembly has 73 elected and six appointed assemblymen for a total of 79 members, and with today’s development, Hajiji now has the majority support of 48 assemblymen to continue leading the state administration. – Bernama