Westcoast warlord Lajim Ukin's outburst against Sabah Umno chief Musa Aman has rattled the latter.
In a hasty call for calm after Umno supreme council member Lajim Ukin said last week he was seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to register his lack of confidence in the top leadership of Sabah Umno, the normally reticent Sabah Chief Minister said he wished to “mend fences” for the good of the coalition.
He said he had no intention of politically taking down any leaders of Sabah Umno or leaders of the other BN component parties in the state and, if there were differences, he was ready to discuss these with them.
Musa also reiterated that he had and will never look down on any BN leaders in the state.
He said he valued cooperation from all leaders of the coalition government in Sabah, adding that as the state Umno head, his “door is always open if there is any problem involving leaders. Come and discuss and together we will solve any problem.”
Speaking during a function in Beaufort, the constituency under the sway of Lajim, on Sunday, Musa said there must be respect and honesty among leaders.
He said the struggle is for the party and coalition, and not individuals.
Not naming any particular leader, the state BN chief said he believed the people of Sabah are politically matured and could tell without fail which leader “is telling the truth and which one is not”.
“If there is something that you feel not satisfied about, just come and see me. I will try to help where I can.
“It is always important and incumbent upon all leaders to continue to uphold the spirit of consensus in our action,”
Observers noted that Musa was obviously referring to several Sabah Umno leaders who are not in his camp and particularly Lajim, a force within Sabah Umno, who is also the federal Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister.
After months of speculation that all was not well between Lajim and Musa, the Beaufort MP came out in the open to say that Musa was only looking after his own interests when managing the state.
He also said he had been told that he would not be selected or given the opportunity to defend his seat in the next general election.
Umno leaders chide Lajim
The outspoken attack that came after months of rumour and speculation forced Musa to hold out an olive branch to those aligned against him during a function at his alma mater SK Mempagar within the Beaufort parliamentary constituency.
Meanwhile, several Sabah Umno leaders chided Lajim for his outburst against Musa.
Yahya Hussin, Putatan divisional head, said Lajim’s criticism of Musa was an indication that he was about to ditch Umno.
“This could only come from a person who is ready to cross to the other side and becoming a traitor,” said Yahya, who is a Deputy Chief Minister.
Sabah Umno treasurer and Tuaran divisional chairman Hajiji Mohd Noor said his division felt hurt by what Lajim had said of the chief minister and led his division in declaring full support for Musa to continue leading the state government, Sabah Umno and state BN.
Kota Belud Umno head Salleh Tun Said said leaders must be sincere by wholeheartedly working hand-in-hand with all leaders and not just a selected few or their own circle of friends.
“One must not put one leg inside BN or Umno, and the other outside for this will mean that at any time this kind of leaders will jump ship for their convenience or self-comfort. Both legs must be in one place,” the State Legislative Assembly speaker told FMT.
This is the second time a senior leader in the Sabah BN coalition has questioned Musa’s leadership.
More than a year ago, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also criticised the chief minister for allowing those believed to be close to him to do a hatchet job on BN members who were not subservient to him.
Lajim helped hasten the downfall of Parti Bersatu Sabah government in 1994 when he quit and joined Umno.