Tan Sri Wences Angang
KOTA KINABALU: United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organization (UPKO) remains intact and strong despite the resignation of a few party leaders.
Its vice president, Tan Sri Wences Angang, also said that UPKO leadership had in fact reached out to those who resigned prior to quitting the party.
“But what can we do when they have made up their mind? We can’t force them to change it. This is democracy and it is their right to make a choice,” said Wences.
To him, party members leaving is part of politics and the departure of a couple of leaders has not affected UPKO or its strength.
“Actually there are more people especially from the opposition joining UPKO as they subscribe to the party’s struggles for the people of Sabah,” he pointed out, adding that those who have crossed over to UPKO were from opposition parties’ branches in Tamparuli and Ranau, among others.
“Let me assure UPKO members that the party is solid and interest in the party is growing, even more so as we are part of the ruling government in Sabah,” he stressed.
UPKO secretary general Datuk Donald Mojuntin also said the party
is still solid and steadfast.
The resignation of its Youth chief Arthur Sen and Supreme Council member Haji Suip Saniman was part of politics and would be dealt with accordingly, he said.
Mojuntin in a statement yesterday explained that the duo’s resignation had yet to be deliberated by the UPKO Supreme Council, as per the party’s standard operating procedure.
He, however, disclosed that after a preliminary enquiry each resignation has its own reason that is not inter-related.
“As for now, UPKO Youth wing will be helmed by its deputy chief, Kennedy John Angian, as decided in their Youth meeting yesterday. And efforts will be made to communicate with Haji Suip Saniman before our upcoming Supreme Council meeting.
“As for the resignations in UPKO Putatan, UPKO headquarters has yet to receive any official notification. We intend to follow up the matter. Apart from these, there are no other resignations,” he said.
Mojuntin pointed out that there has in fact been an increase in number of applications for UPKO membership in the last couple of months from members of other political parties which are in the opposition now and from the general public.
“So to say that UPKO is cracking is not accurate. The party is still solid and steadfast.
Our branches are actively having their respective Triennial General Meeting to be followed by our divisions and culminating in the UPKO Congress to be held on October 12 and 13.
“To put it simply, UPKO is alive and kicking. The challenges that it is facing now is a normal part of politics. We deal with it and move forward,” he said.
Angang and Mojuntin said this in response to the worry of fellow UPKO leader Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh about the resignation of party leaders.
The UPKO Putatan divisional chief in registering his concern over the matter urged the party’s leadership to get to the bottom of the issue and find out why those who quit the party had done so.
The former Putatan member of parliament also claimed that the recent resignation of UPKO leaders was just the tip of the iceberg, as some grassroots leaders and members were also considering quitting the party.
“I really hope that the party’s leadership will call these people (and) those who are planning to exit. Unity is very important (and) we are in the government now (so) we have to find out why they are not happy with the party,” said Mojigoh.
Meanwhile, UPKO Wanita deputy chief Datin Juliana Jani said party unity is everything.
“Most of the time a political party is weak because internal fraction splits the party and makes it weak. We really shouldn’t have to fight within. Instead, if our members and leaders are so feisty then I suggest they unite their strengths and fight an external battle,” said Juliana.
“This is evident in many parties across the country. Those parties which have internal fighting are never strong because they focus their attention on the wrong target. Instead, efforts should be made to fight our external rivals, not internal.
“Although I’m not the most seasoned leader in the party, I know that we don’t wash dirty linens outside without going through proper communication channels from within the party,” she said.