KOTA KINABALU: Former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has spurned overtures to be deputy president of a new party formed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but wants to lead a Sabah-based party.
Shafie, who has been making his rounds and talking to various leaders in Sabah since quitting Umno earlier this month, following his suspension by the party, has made it clear to supporters that he would be leading a Sabah based political outfit.
“I see there is a need for a new local based party to champion Sabah’s cause,” Shafie told a Hari Raya gathering in Kota Belud on Sunday.
“Just wait, the time will come,” the Semporna MP told the crowd as he highlighted the various issues facing Sabah from oil royalties to land in a speech that was streamed via Facebook.
Since quitting, Shafie’s political posture showed that he was heading to helm a local party but his appearances at events about the new party to be launched by Dr Mahathir had led to speculations he was going national.
However, Shafie has made it clear that he has turned down the offer by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be the deputy president in Dr Mahathir’s new party to be led by Muhyiddin.
Shafie had told Sinar Harian that he rejected the offer as he was now concentrating on returning to Sabah to help its people.
Shafie, Umno’s first vice-president from Sabah, told the crowd in Kota Belud that he was probably one of the longest serving Sabah leader to serve in the federal government in various political capacities.
“It is time for me to come back to Sabah. I am not power crazy. What is important is fighting for the people of Sabah,” he said urging his supporters to give him some time to make the decision on his next political course.
“There are a lot of factors to consider and work out, I need some time,” he said, in dismissing claims “the already many political parties in Sabah” would not distract the people as they just had to look at the right party for them.
In turning down Muhyiddin’s offer, Sinar Harian had quoted him as saying that he would “support what needs to be supported.”
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin approached me regarding the new party and told me, ‘Datuk Shafie Apdal, you will be deputy president and I will be president,’
“But I said it’s OK. I am not looking to be a president or deputy president of a party. No need for that. Tun (Mahathir) can establish it, Muhyiddin can be the president, and I will support what needs to be supported.
“It is time for me to balik kampung. I need to help my people,” Shafie was quoted by the Malay newspaper.