Resignation of Bumburing, Lajim may delay polls
Posted on July 31, 2012, Tuesday
KUALA LUMPUR: The 13th general election is likely to be delayed until end of the year following the exit of two Sabah leaders from the Barisan Nasional (BN) over the weekend, a report said.
BN sources in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur told Malaysian Insider that the ruling coalition is working to retain its “fixed deposit” in Sabah and Sarawak, thus making the September polls unlikely.
The sources say the pledge by Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing and Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin to support Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is among reasons that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is re-looking dates for a snap poll after Budget Day on September 28 for his personal mandate, some three years and three months after taking power in April 2009.
“It is not likely in September now although Umno and its partners are ready for the polls,¡± a BN source from Kuala Lumpur said.
“Umno needs to make sure both Sabah and Sarawak remain a fixed deposit and provide the bulk of seats because the Malay vote is split in the peninsula,” the source added, referring to Umno’s share of only 79 seats in Election 2008.
Sources had earlier told The Malaysian Insider that a snap poll was likely to happen in September if Najib carries through a plan to dissolve Parliament in August, nine months before the BN mandate expires in April 2013. There have been a few dates bandied about in the past year although the country¡¯s sixth prime minister has expressed confidence of sweeping the majority of all state and federal seats.
Before the latest defection, BN controlled 22 out of the 25 federal seats in Sabah and one in the Federal Territory of Labuan. In the 2008 election, BN lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority largely due to significant losses in the peninsula, where it won just 85 seats while the opposition swept 80 seats.
BN’s saving grace was in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan where the pact trounced the opposition and made a near-clean sweep, winning 55 parliamentary seats to the opposition’s two. But after the weekend, BN now controls 136 federal seats while PR has 76 seats, SAPP two and eight independents in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.
A Sabah BN source also said a September date is unlikely due to the latest developments in the state, as the ruling coalition will have to ensure there are no serious ramifications from the walkout by the two senior Sabah MPs.
Lajim is a deputy minister and Umno supreme council member while Bumburing is the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) deputy president.
“They both don’t have much influence outside their areas but it could spread and prove to be a factor if polls are held soon. Then again, it can fester and still be a problem later on,” he added.
There has been speculation since June that Bumburing and Lajim would quit BN and support PR but it did not happen until the past weekend.
“It is a mystery why BN didn’t take action earlier against both of them,” the Sabah BN source said.