KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 ― Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today declared that Sabah Umno still exists despite the departures of almost all of its key leaders today.
In a special press conference today, he said that the party’s leaders had already expected the mass exodus of Sabah Umno members, and have revealed an immediate reshuffling plan for the party chapter.
“We see that the situation that happened in Sabah now is a political move which we had expected.
“However, this does not at all weaken Umno’s struggles, which has done much to the people in that state,” he said, adding that since Umno’s entry to Sabah in 1991, the socio-economic status of Sabahans has changed for the better.
“Therefore, is must be explained that Sabah Umno is not dissolved.
“Though there are some leaders in the state who have declared that they are leaving Umno, immediate action has been done to arrange and reshuffle the Sabah Umno Liaison Committee,” the Bagan Datuk MP told reporters.
He said that the party is armed with a reshuffling plan for its divisions, as stipulated under Clause 15.7 and Clause 15.8 of its party constitution, and has carried out an analysis of the situation in the state.
In the press conference here, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa also announced that two of the party vice-presidents, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would be flying to Sabah tomorrow to meet its state party leaders.
“After we had discussed with the president, we want to again stress that Umno Sabah will continue to operate as usual, and steps to strengthen Sabah Umno as a political movement will continue, back to back.
“And God willing, tomorrow, the vice-presidents Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri and Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid will have a meeting with them, so they don’t have to worry because the Supreme Council representatives will be there in Sabah tomorrow,” Annuar said.
Earlier today, Sabah Umno leaders including nine out of ten state assemblymen and five out of six MPs, two party senators, two Umno Supreme Council members and a majority of its state committee opted to quit the party.
Former state liaison chief Datuk Hajiji Noor said they were also expecting Wanita division chiefs to eventually join, as well as Puteri wing division chiefs. About nine out of 25 youth division chiefs were also believed to be leaving the party.
The mass exodus has left the party with one assemblyman and one MP in Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin respectively.
Most of its division chiefs also left, with the exception of three, including Bung’s Kinabatangan division.
Sabah Umno said that the unclear political direction of the Malay nationalist party was no longer serving the party’s interest.