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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yong ups attacks on Shafie over ‘deal with Umno’ claim

The Sabah politician tells the former minister to explain his claim of a deal between Umno and opposition leaders in 2013

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee has challenged Shafie Apdal to come clean about his claim last July that a deal had been reached between some Sabah opposition leaders and Umno during the 2013 polls.

He said Shafie, who now leads Parti Warisan Sabah, should not let the matter be open to speculation.

“The moment you are wishy washy on it, it shows you are lying to your own people when you say you know what happened between Umno, SAPP and Star in 2013,” he told FMT.

Shafie had during a Hari Raya event in July ruled out his party cooperating with certain local opposition parties because he “knows what they did in the last election”.

The former Umno vice-president stopped short of naming the leaders, but his remarks led to speculation that Yong and Star president Dr Jeffrey Kitingan had received money from Umno.

Yong said his political enemies were resorting to such allegations because they could no longer link him with the 1999 incident, when Yong who won the seat for Barisan Nasional (BN) was disqualified over the existence of phantom voters.

Following a re-election, Yong retained the seat with a bigger majority. In 2008, the former Sabah chief minister led SAPP out of BN.

Yong questioned a rumour circulating that foreign minister Anifah Aman had told an Umno Supreme Council meeting in 2013 to spare Yong and Jeffrey.

“First of all, when did Anifah become Umno Supreme Council member? Secondly, we only had contact with Anifah in 2015 when we were invited for the forum on Sabah’s rights, no strings attached – Jeffrey had a field day with his talk on 20-points then,” he said, referring to MySabah, an initiative by Anifah to discuss Sabah’s rights.

“So what is Shafie talking about that Anifah ‘protected’ us in 2013 because of MySabah which only existed in 2015?

“Are you telling me he can time travel? These are all lies,” Yong said.

Yong said Shafie should not “play with words”, adding that “Umno-trained” and peninsular-based politicians were “very good at insinuations”.

“They will imply something and when people point out they meant something, they would say, ‘I didn’t say that’ and claim innocence.”

Yong also questioned Warisan’s clout in Sabah as the party concentrated mainly in opposition strongholds like Penampang.

“The problem is, he is concentrating in the interior, in the West Coast, and other opposition areas. The question is, why? I think because he knows he cannot defeat Umno,” said Yong.

By Tracy Patrick

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