KOTA KINABALU, Nov 21 — Sabah Umno information chief Datuk Suhaimi Nasir claimed that Umno also had its members stolen when Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) decided to spread its wings to Sabah.

He claimed that many Umno members were unaware that their names were registered as members of the party.

Suhaimi alleged that this occurred because most of those who joined Bersatu were Umno leaders and when they were pressed to find members to start a branch or division, the easiest way was to steal the available list of Umno members complete with details such as identification card number and address to be registered as their party members.

He also claimed that Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) was formed when its leaders, who were originally from Umno, joined Bersatu, and then GRS.

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Suhaimi, who is Libaran Umno division chief, said this when commenting on the disclosure by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice president Datuk Ruslan Muhaharam who claimed the action of several parties within GRS who stole members from within the coalition.

Suhaimi further claimed that GRS, being a young party, would definitely have difficulties getting new members and the easiest way was to steal members from other parties to be registered as their members.

Suhaimi urged the parties within GRS who are involved to stop taking members from other component members which he described as acts of disrespect to the spirit of camaraderie.

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Suhaimi also warned that such actions can result in factions within GRS.

Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Bung Moktar Radin described the action of stealing other party members including from the GRS’ own coalition as immoral, lacking integrity and has lost confidence in the struggle.

He claimed in his Facebook account that this occurred at all the 73 State Legislative Assembly seats in Sabah.

GRS secretary general Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manju said on Monday that allegations of member pinching between political parties in Sabah is nothing new as they have been thrown around ever since politics started in the state.

“We have been hearing these accusations for years and it is the same story. But to me the allegation of party members being ‘stolen’ is something that is difficult to swallow as it can only happen if the individual switches party willingly.

“Humans can think for themselves and they would not simply allow themselves to be ‘stolen’ and taken to join another party unless they do it at their own free will,” he said. — Borneo Post Online