Bung, Hajiji Try to Show United Front After Joint-Announcement Falls Apart

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Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin and state Bersatu head Hajiji Mohd Noor today tried to show a united front at a Kota Kinabalu gathering where a plan to jointly announce their state election candidates fell apart.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

After an hour’s delay and abruptly converting the candidates’ announcement event into a “get-together” reception, Bung and Hajiji tried to salvage the event by each delivering a speech.

Both their speeches only took around 30 minutes in total before the event ended.

In their speeches, Bung and Hajiji urged their party members to bury the hatchet and not to squander a “godsent” opportunity to win the Sept 26 election.

Bung said Umno, together with “old friends” in Bersatu, are being given a chance to regain control of the Sabah government.

“Today, we were given a chance to be with our old friends. We have to stay united.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

“It means Allah has given us a second chance. If we do not take it, it is difficult for us to get a third chance,” he added.

“Of course (we know) about the hurt feelings but hurt feelings will not bring us progress. It is never a loss for us to strengthen our unity,” he told over 500 Umno and Bersatu members gathered there for the candidates’ announcement.

Bung was referring to the defection of Umno lawmakers to Bersatu in Sabah after BN was defeated in the 2018 general election.

The upcoming state election was called after former chief minister Musa Aman initiated a political coup which forced caretaker Chief Minister Shafie Apdal to dissolve the state assembly.

“Can we win? Yes, we can. (This could happen) without us disputing who our candidates are and which party they are from.

“Don’t dispute the candidates. The candidates are the work of God, that’s why we don’t try to do the work of God.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

“I planned this, but it is up to God to decide,” Bung added.

He urged the party grassroots not to air their unhappiness if they hope to win in the state polls.

The five-term Kinabatangan MP, who will be contesting the Lamag state seat, is seen as one of the possible chief ministerial candidates if the opposition wins.

Bung also concurred with Hajiji who said Umno and its splinter party are from the “same species”.

Earlier, Hajiji said they were the same species as they were former comrades before and now they shared the same struggle.

“I, too, am of the same species. Don’t worry, we share the same struggle.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

“Umno/BN and Bersatu/Perikatan Nasional must be united to ensure our victory in the polls,” he added.

Hajiji also impressed on the ground not to air their displeasure.

“Our struggle and victory is something bigger – we want the state government and the federal government to move in the same direction,” he said.

Hajiji arrived around 30 minutes after Bung amid jostling over seat negotiations.

After the event ended, Bung proceeded to hold a press conference to announce Umno’s candidates for the state election while Hajiji left the venue.

Malaysiakini

 

Umno revealed that it will contest 31 out of the 73 state seats in the Sabah election. – Malaysiakini