Umno is fearful of a resurgent Usno in Sabah because it would easily outweigh the peninsula-based party, said a son of former chief minister Tun Mustapha Harun.
PAPAR April 16, 2012: One of the sons of former Sabah chief minister Tun Mustapha Harun who has been trying to revive his father’s party is determined that the state Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition government be replaced by a Sabah-based political party.
Badaruddin Tun Mustapha said that Usno whether registered or not would stick with State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, in facing the coming general election for the sake of Sabah’s future and dignity.
Members of the former Sabah political powerhouse, which was deregistered with Mustapha’s blessings in the early 90s to make way for the entry of Umno into Sabah, are planning to put up candidates in areas they had identified to stand under STAR symbol if the party fails to be accepted by the Registrar of Societies in time for the election.
“Umno is fond of saying Usno is no more relevant and that its members have become Umno members,” he said but argued that Umno is still scared that the name of the Sabah party would easily outweigh the peninsula-based party.
“If that is so (Usno is irrelevant) they should to be registered so that we may have a chance to prove that we still command respect and have supporters.
“The only reason they do not want to register Usno is because Umno is afraid of a new Usno,” Badaruddin said in his speech at the launching of STAR’s Papar division by Kitingan at a resort near here on Saturday.
This is the first time Badaruddin has spoken out publicly on his frustration with peninsula-based political parties taking over the governing of the state.
He said that Usno would decide on its candidates’ line-up and called on patriotic Sabahans to rally behind STAR and Usno in order for the state to reclaim its rightful position in the federation.
“Jeffrey had invited us to be in one house (STAR) and I agreed this would be the ideal, but we in Usno want to prove to (all in) Sabah and Malaysia that Usno still has the people’s support and that we can stand on our own two feet and with STAR’ s support even defeat Umno,” he said.
Shafie under attack
Badaruddin said Usno’s appeal and strength was proven a few weeks ago when 3,000 locals in Semporna turned up at its gathering in the east coast town which Umno claims as its stronghold.
“The 3,000 stayed with us for four hours even though we only served them mineral water. Jeffrey was present and he witnessed this Sabahan spirit. Remember in 1985 (PBS defeated Berjaya), this will happen again. In 1985 then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad came down to say that he “would swim or sink with Berjaya”, but look Berjaya was defeated,” said the Usno protem president.
The soft-spoken Badaruddin also attacked Umno vice president Shafie Apdal, who is portrayed by Umno as the undisputed leader of Semporna.
“When we went to Bum-Bum Island recently, 600 Suluks came up to our gathering and they told us they wanted change. This even though a day earlier, Shafie and assemblyman Harman Mohamad went from house to house there telling the Suluks not to come to our function. But 600 local Suluks still came.
“They were telling us that they told Shafie and Harman off that only when they heard Usno coming, that they came to visit them in their houses, only to tell them not to turn up at Usno’s gathering, but they turned up still. So you can take it from here that the people are actually fed up with Umno.”
Meanwhile, STAR further bolstered its image when a former deputy president of Barisan Nasional component, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Baharudin Nayan, from Papar handed over his application form to join STAR at the party launching. Joining him in STAR were 500 others.
Welcoming them into the party, Kitingan said it is a clear sign that STAR’s struggle for the reinstatement of state rights and autonomy had struck a chord with Sabahans regardless of racial and religious backgrounds.
“STAR is shining here in Sabah, it will shine in Sarawak and eventually in Malaysia, fighting for our rightful position in the Federation,” he said at the launching which was attended by STAR secretary-general, Donny Ruing anak Limpau, and its Sabah secretary, Guandee Kohoi.