KOTA KINABALU (June 15): Two assemblymen from the United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) aligned with the Sabah state government today declared that they had quit the party with immediate effect.
Kuala Penyu assemblyman Datuk Limus Jury and Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib announced that they are now independent elected representatives and support Perikatan Nasional (PN), which is in power at the federal level, for the sake of the development of their constituencies.
They made the announcement at a press conference at the residence of Limus in Jalan Pintas, Penampang near here in the presence of several of their supporters.
Limus had been UPKO's vice-president and headed the party's Beaufort division, while James had been a member of the UPKO Supreme Council.
Limus said they had lost confidence in UPKO's leadership which they claimed was inconsistent in terms of its struggle and objectives.
Despite the latest political development, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) remains in power in the state.
The government bloc in the state legislative assembly comprises 45 reps, including four nominated assemblymen, while the opposition bloc has 20, including one nominated assemblyman who has crossed over.
The assembly currently has a total of 65 reps, including the five nominated assemblymen, giving a simple majority of 33.
The government bloc comprises Warisan, with 31 reps, followed by DAP (six), UPKO (two), PKR (two) and four nominated assemblymen.
The opposition bloc consists of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) with nine reps, followed by Parti Bersatu Sabah (four), STAR (three), independent (two), Umno (one) and one nominated assemblyman.
“For the moment, I will be an independent assemblyman and champion the interests of my constituents.
“After considering the matter deeply and rationally, I figured that the best move would be to leave UPKO for the sake of the good, progress and future of my constituents,” said Limus who had been with the party for over 20 years.
He said the party was no longer in line with the federal government led by PN, and added that it was improper for him and his allies to remain with the state government which was now in the opposition at the federal level.
Limus said, however, that he had yet to decide which party to join.
Meanwhile, James said he decided to leave UPKO, which he joined two years ago, because the Warisan-led state government was no longer in line with the PN federal government.
“I am confident that the PN government led by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin can bring about a change in the political landscape of the country and Sabah,” he said.