KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s east coast Bajau leader Datuk Shafie Apdal is expected to team up with Sabah-based opposition parties after quitting Umno.
But the Semporna leader did not clearly indicate the vehicle he would be using for his next political move.
“Today, I’ve quit Umno. I want you (rakyat) to continue supporting me until I decide on my platform,” Shafie, 58, told a gathering at his house in Semporna.
Training his guns on his political nemesis Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Shafie said that he would go all out to fight Musa and Sabah Barisan.
“Don’t under estimate the force of the rakyat,” he said in his speech.
He also blamed Musa for allegedly pushing for his suspension from the party at the June 24 Umno supreme council meeting.
“I was never given the right to answer allegations of mixing with the Opposition,” he said, questioning why no action was taken against other state leaders who had been meeting with Sabah opposition leaders.
Also saying that he was no longer in line with the Umno leadership, he said the breaking point came when he was suspended without being asked to give an answer for alleged disciplinary breaches.
Shafie, who is the nephew of Sabah Umno’s first chief minister Tun Sakaran Dandai, was the first Umno vice-president from Sabah and has been Semporna MP since 1995.
He held various Federal Cabinet positions between 1999 and 2015 before he was dropped as a minister in July last year.
Showing signs that he was taking up the Sabah agenda and aligning himself with the opposition United Sabah Alliance (USA) chaired by former Berjaya minister Datuk Mohd Noor Mansor, Shafie gave a 90-minute speech streamed live via Facebook.
In Putrajaya, Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said: “Shafie Apdal’s resignation will not cripple Umno, not even in Sabah.
“The latest development is not a threat to Sabah Umno as the people’s support is for the party and not for individuals with vested interest.”
Abdul Rahman, who is Sabah Barisan Nasional secretary, said Shafie’s decision to leave the party was expected.
“Umno is strong not because of certain figures but because of its visions and struggle,” he added.