KINARUT July 24, 2011: United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) will be at a crossroads come the 13th General Election if the people's demands, particularly the call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants, continue to be unheeded by the Government.
Deputy President Datuk Wilfred Bumburing said this is among the challenges that Upko is facing in the coming election.
"I have submitted a memorandum on illegal immigrants on behalf of all of us to the Home Ministry but every time a Ministry officer will tell me that my memorandum is so thick that they need more time to study it," he said.
Towards this end, he said he dreaded the outcome if the Government failed to address the issue that is known as the "mother of all problems in Sabah".
"We are coming to a crossroads. Are we relevant to the voters when the 13th General Election comes?" he asked at the closing of Upko Putatan Triennial General Meeting (TGM) in Borneo Paradise Resort, Saturday.
Bumburing who is also Tuaran MP said he was worried that it might be 1985 all over again when Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) trounced the Berjaya government.
He said Upko would not relent in voicing out the people's grievances such as the illegal immigrant issue. Referring to the sex tape allegedly implicating opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he questioned the reason for an RCI to be set up "just for a dubious sex tape".
"What is that compared to the problems affecting millions in Sabah?" asked Bumburing.
However, he said that of all the federal ministers from Sabah there has been no one more vocal than Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and as a result had boosted the image of the party as one that struggled for the people.
He said the strength of a political party should not be looked at merely from its membership base but more on its struggle and bravery to voice out the people's problems.
He cited that DAP did not have that many members but there was one time like in 1969 when the number of votes obtained by DAP was 1 member to 100 voters.
In this respect, he said the growth in Upko Putatan had contributed to the party's overall growth. As for the proposal for a loose confederation between Upko, PBS and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) to work towards solving the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, Bumburing said he welcomed the call by PBS Sec-Gen Datuk Henrynus Amin.
Several years ago, he had initiated a retreat meeting between the leaders of the three parties - Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS), Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (PBRS) and Dompok - in Tuaran.
"They spent time together and discussed. Pairin then said Upko should get the ball rolling so that was the breaking of ice and it should be a catalyst for this," he said.
Bumburing also explained that he had agreed to be in the newly launched Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) headed by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah because it is an NGO that has noble goals.
"I would like to clarify to Upko members to not confuse my involvement in Amanah.
I would like to state this is an NGO and nothing political," he said.
Amanah, he said would be fighting against corruption, cronyism and imbalances.