84 Usno Baru Members ‘Cheated’ of Candidacy

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Denied the opportunity to contest, Usno Baru members want the party to be responsible for the disappearance of candidates’ deposits.

United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) had planned to contest in all 60 state seats and 26 parliamentary seats in Sabah, but the party is only contesting two state seats in the end – Balung and Merotai –  as the candidates had used their own money to pay the deposit.

Usno Tenom division chief Norlia Yuntong said the aspiring candidates were left heartbroken after learning that the party advisor ran off with RM870,000 cash meant for candidates’ deposits.

“Initially, we were told by the leadership to pay the minimum RM3,000 to be elected as candidates for parliament and state seats.

“It is learned that some of the candidates paid more than the said amount. Some even borrowed from loan sharks, sold off their cars and lands in hopes to contest in the GE,” she said in a press conference in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

Some, who had quit their government posts, including four teachers, had lost their income, as they were promised to be fielded as candidates.

Norlia said those who failed to contest in the election did not discount the possibility of a conspiracy by Usno leadership.

“The president claimed he was not involved in the missing RM870,000 cash, but as the top leader of the party, he should not remain quiet.

Usno Baru president is Dulli Tiaseh.

“I represent the candidates to seek justice and to identify the mastermind of this incident,” she added.

It was reported that the money was handed over to the 38-year-old advisor, who was in charge of the party’s financial matters, on Friday morning. The money was for the purpose of deposits for 26 parliamentary seat candidates and 60 state seat candidates. He subsequently could not be reached by party members.

On nomination day, Dulli and several aspiring Usno candidates visited the suspect’s home in Kota Belud and he promised to return the money by evening, but it never materialised.

Usno Baru supreme council member John Kisil had since lodged a police report over the matter.

Sabah police said that they are hunting for the suspect, believed to be an imam, indicating that he could have fled.

As a result of this debacle, only two Usno candidates were able to contest in GE14 after forking out their own money.

The case is being investigated under Section 408 of Penal Code for criminal breach of trust.