KOTA KINABALU, Sept 16 ― Chastised for using Tun Mustapha Harun’s name to gain support for his party, New United Sabah National Organisation (Usno Baru) president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today said the late leader’s family should be thanking him for reminding people of the former Sabah Bajau leader’s legacy.
Pandikar said that the photos and images used by Usno Baru are available on public domain and that Mustapha’s son, Datuk Amir Kahar Mustapha, had no right to be offended.
“We never intended to offend the family when we used his image in our materials. Our intention was to remind Sabahans of the sacrifices of past leaders. The family should be thanking us,” he said during the Usno Baru manifesto launch at the Courtyard Hotel in 1Borneo Shopping Centre here.
Pandikar was asked to comment on a statement made by Amir Kahar who criticised the new Usno leadership line for using images of his father in the party's ongoing campaign for the Sabah election.
Amir Kahar, who is contesting as an independent candidate in Banggi, said the family did not want Mustapha's image to be used for political mileage by others.
Pandikar scoffed and claimed that Amir Kahar had wanted to contest on an Umno ticket but could not reach a deal with the new party leadership.
“I find this so ridiculous. He should say sorry for contesting as an independent instead of with the party,” he said, referring to Amir Kahar.
The original Usno was formed in 1961 by Mustapha and was part of the formation of Sabah.
Usno was officially deregistered in 1994 after Mustapha moved en bloc with party members to join Umno in 1991.
However, Mustapha and a few remaining Usno assemblymen continued with the party due to the then anti-hopping law before it was deregistered and teamed up with PBS in 1994. However, he later joined Umno in 1999.
Usno Baru was founded in 2013 but was inactive for the most part until now.