UPKO have 4 MPs :
1. Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (Penampang)
2. Datuk Wilfred Bumburing
3. Datuk Dr Marcus Majigoh (Putatan)
4. Datuk Siringan Gubat (Ranau)
If they leave, BN will be further reduced to 133 seats.
On September 17th, SAPP left BN.
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok’s statement on September 19th regarding SAPP’s withdrawal from BN.
Will UPKO Do A ‘SAPP’ ?
Newmond Tibin, BERNAMA
KOTA KINABALU : When Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee announced the party’s decision to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition on Sept 17, it did not surprise many people as it was expected.
This was because three months earlier, SAPP had given some indication of its intentions.
But when United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) yesterday threatened to review its position in Barisan Nasional, it came as a shock; as it was reminiscent of SAPP’s political move.
Upko is the second BN component party in Sabah to make a “strong statement” against BN after SAPP.
While SAPP unveiled Sabah-related issues as its political “weapon”, Upko appeared to be unhappy with the way the National Registration Department (NRD) handled the plight of 78-year-old Yong Lee Hua, a Sino-Kadazan, who was issued a red identiy card (IC) with the status of a permanent resident when she went to replace her blue IC that she lost in a supermarket in Penampang last year.
Surprised by the downgrading, Upko deputy president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing was quoted as saying yesterday that taking away the citizenship of a locally-born Bumiputera and forcing the person to take permanent resident status was a shocking display of incompetence from a department rigged with controversies, including dubious ICs issued to illegal immigrants via false Statutory Declarations.
“This action by the NRD infringes the basic rights of Malaysians in Sabah and if it is not rectified, Upko must seriously review its position in Barisan,” said Bumburing, who is member of Parliment for Tuaran.
So will Upko follow SAPP because of its dissatisfaction with the BN? A local political analyst, Iskandar Martin Gayo, believed that Upko may have no plans to pull out of BN for now although the Sabah-based party had been quite vocal of late in airing the grouses and grievances of the people of Sabah.
“I think what Upko wants is for the government to rectify the ’mistake’ of a federal government department and it’s not an ultimatum. There is nothing wrong with it. After all what Upko is fighting for is for the good of the local people in Sabah.
“It’s already an open secret that Sabah is inundated with illegal immigrants and some of them have even managed to acquire the MyKad through dubious means, which ultimately qualifies for citizenship.
“How can these people get citizenship so easily when our own people are struggling to get it?” he asked.
He urged the federal government to let Sabahans lead the NRD and Immigration Department in Sabah as they would be more familiar with problems affecting the local population.
Iskandar said the state government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had been working hard, together with the federal government, to tackle the problem of illegal immigrants.
The issue of illegal immigrants, he said, should not arise anymore as the state and federal governments were serious about solving it once and for all by launching a massive operation to flush out illegals in Sabah recently.
“Recent operations had resulted in thousands of illegal immigrants being sent back to their country of origin. The local people should give the government a chance to complete this gigantic task; all this cannot be accomplished overnight,” he said.
Iskandar hoped the case involving Yong Lee Hua highlighted by Upko was an isolated one and without necessitating it having to think about its position in BN.
He said even Upko president and Penampang MP Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had previously denied that the party would leave BN.
Instead, Upko leaders would remain loyal to BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he said.
Upko has four MPs — Dompok, Bumburing, Datuk Dr Marcus Majigoh (Putatan) and Datuk Siringan Gubat (Ranau). — BERNAMA