KOTA KINABALU, Dec 13 — Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has indicated that he is open to accepting the ex-Umno leaders who left the party yesterday, provided there are no strings attached.
The Sabah chief minister revealed today that Warisan was approached by some of the leaders and his party would consider accepting them, in the interest of keeping the state united.
“Some have indeed approached Warisan and stated their desire to join. We will take an open stand like I’ve said. Our priority is to have the people united,” he told reporters at the State Assembly building here.
He said the support of elected representatives will help the government to develop all areas of Sabah regardless of whether the constituencies are under the government or Opposition.
“So, it’s not a problem, we can discuss. There are no restrictions in our policy. We have said this from the beginning — it’s for the sake of unity. However, there should be no conditions when joining,” he said.
Yesterday, four MPs, nine assemblymen and 21 division leaders quit Umno due to loss of trust in their party leadership.
They said they will remain as independents for the time being until they find a suitable political vehicle.
They are believed to be in talks with Warisan as well as peninsula-based Parti Pribumi Bersatu Sabah which has yet to branch out to the state.
Earlier, Warisan vice-president Datuk Junz Wong said they would welcome former Umno leaders as it was a better option for them to join a local party and unite as Sabahans.
“We would like to move away from federal-based party ties, so we can think of Sabah first,” he said.
“I think we have some existing ones already and we don’t need to open the door for anymore from Malaya to come here.”
He also said the exodus has effectively crippled Umno and will give members a chance to find a better platform for their political struggle.
“For us, it has always been to unite Sabahans,” he said.