Musa: Lajim, Bumburing eyeing bigger posts with quit move
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — Sabah lawmakers Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing left Barisan Nasional (BN) in search of higher positions in the opposition, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said.
The state BN chief told Mingguan Malaysia in an interview published today that the duo's departure would not threaten Umno or BN's position in the state.
"I think they (Lajim and Bumburing) wanted greater positions than what they had. There are some with big ambitions and surely this is what they would do... this is every individual's right.
"Umno and BN is not threatened. Sabahans are smart enough to gauge who is right.
"This notion is the sort of opposition propaganda used to confuse the people," Musa (picture) was quoted as saying in the weekend edition of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.
The state leader, however, appeared to question the sudden decision of both MPs to leave BN's side, asking why the duo was suddenly so busy with serving their constituents.
"Rightfully, it is when they are holding the posts of minister and deputy minister when they should be doing that," he added.
Musa said leaders should place party interests above their own personal interest instead of "chasing after power and positions".
He said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had never interfered in Sabah's internal affairs, but had only pandered to the state's concerns when he appointed locals in Sabah to fill positions his administration.
"We actually determine the direction of the state through the federal or state Cabinets.
"We are lucky to have a leader who understands the people's needs," he added.
The Chief Minister expounded on BN's successes, saying it was through the ruling pact that the resource-rich Sabah attraction a total of RM10 billion in private investments last year.
He said that Sabahans had benefitted directly from this, claiming to know that the local folk were happy with this.
"Returns from these investments has also improved our state infrastructure... it is different now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
"I often go down to the ground to meet with the grassroots and if anyone claims that BN's position is threatened in Sabah, this is untrue," he was quoted as saying by the Malay daily.
On Friday, Najib said Lajim's and Bumburing's exits would not affect the date of the coming polls as speculated, adding that the ruling pact is taking steps to strengthen its east Malaysian fortress.
The prime minister had also said that despite rumours that more would follow in the footsteps of the Beaufort and Tuaran MPs, BN was capable of dealing with the issue.
"It’s okay, at this point there are plenty of rumours going around but what is important is that we are confident that BN's position is not under threat.
"We are able to face this challenge and we will be taking appropriate steps to remedy the situation and strengthen Umno's and BN's position," he said.
The Malaysian Insider reported on Monday that the drawn-out exit of Lajim and Bumburing over the weekend was likely to delay a general election from a firm September date to end of the year as the ruling coalition works to retain its "fixed deposit" in the Borneo states.
BN sources in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur said the duo's decision to back PR are among reasons that Najib is rethinking 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 told The Malaysian Insider.
"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.