KOTA KINABALU, Jan 16 — Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has rejected claims by his detractors that he is a crony of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Shafie, who was once an Umno vice-president, said he had also backed other prime ministers and Umno leaders when he was with the party.

“I am a bit disappointed when people say I am Mahathir’s crony,” he told reporters after a party function in Papar district today. “I’ve been in Umno supporting Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, Najib Razak and Pak Lah (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi). But that doesn’t mean I am a crony or subservient to them.”

Shafie said Warisan had objected to Bersatu spreading its wings to Sabah when both parties were allies in Pakatan Harapan.

“We got into a big argument with them over this. So I don’t know how you consider this as my being a crony when we did not even let the party led by Mahathir himself come to the state,” he said.

Mahathir was chairman of Bersatu at the time.

It is unclear if any of Shafie’s rival political leaders have accused him of being Mahathir’s crony but the term has been used particularly in social media to describe their relationship.

Shafie said he was encouraged by the reception that Warisan received in West Malaysia after it launched its chapter in the Peninsula last month.

“Things are progressing quite well. I’ve been to Penang and Selangor while my other leaders have gone to Perak and Johor and it was quite encouraging. We are getting support from the Chinese, Indians and Malays. We are well received by people in the Peninsula, they seem to welcome us,” he said.

On another note, Shafie said opposition parties should consider letting their dissenting members join other opposition parties instead of linking up with those in the ruling coalition.

For instance, he said, there were 1,000 DAP members in Johor who had joined Bersatu. “The way I look at it, rather than joining Bersatu, why not join us (Warisan)? If they can’t stop them from leaving, they should allow them to join other friendly opposition parties,” he said. — Daily Express