KOTA KINABALU (Feb 21): Five Umno state representatives have announced they are leaving the party and joining Sabah Gagasan Rakyat Party (Gagasan Rakyat).
They are Sindumin assemblyman Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, Datuk James Ratib (Sugut), Datuk Jasni Daya (Pantai Dalit), Datuk Arshad Bistari (Tampasuk) and Datuk Hamild @ Hamid Awang (Balung).
Yusof, who acted as the spokesperson for the group said they had decided to leave the party and pledge their support to Gagasan Rakyat led by Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said all the Umno assemblymen are also ready for whatever action that will be taken by the leadership and have already received show-cause letter from the Umno leadership following the decision to support Hajiji as Sabah Chief Minister.
Also joining Gagasan Rakyat were former Warisan assemblymen, namely Norazlinah Arif (Kunak), Mohammad Mohamarin (Banggi) and Ben Chong Chen Bin (Tanjong Kapor).
Yusof said following the decision, they have unanimously supported the unity government led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while at the state level, they supported Hajiji as Chief Minister and the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government.
“The decision was taken after realizing that the leaders of Sabah need to unite under the local Sabah party to continue fighting for the rights of the people of Sabah as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“We understand the need for a strong and stable state government, united to achieve the development and progress of the state of Sabah.
“Prolonged disputes have hindered the development, progress and economic growth of the state,” he said in a press conference at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here on Tuesday.
On February 6, the three former Warisan assemblymen announced their departure from the party to become independent assemblymen and support the GRS government under the leadership of Hajiji.
Previously, Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary General Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said that BN had decided to support the Sabah unity government led by Hajiji as Chief Minister.
Zambry said the stance is in line with the decision of each party at the Federal level that has formed a unity government.