Upko will not accept a ‘backdoor’ Sabah govt

KOTA KINABALU: The United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) will not accept any ‘backdoor’ government for Sabah, said its incoming president Datuk Ewon Benedick.

He said a backdoor government, akin to the ‘Sheraton Move’ of February 2020, will not be supported by the party.

He said all Pakatan Harapan representatives in Sabah have collectively disagreed with any attempt to topple the current Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

“I offered my opinion to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday (Jan 7) after the presidential council meeting,” Benedick said when met by reporters after meeting with Hajiji at the Chief Minister’s official residence at Seri Gaya here on Sunday (Jan 8).

“I have made our stand very clear that we reject any effort to topple the current chief minister. We cannot accept any backdoor government,” he said.

The meeting was attended by assemblymen from Sabah Pakatan as well as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Sabah Barisan Nasional.

According to Benedick, who is also Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Minister, Anwar respected the stand made by Datuk Christina Liew (Api-Api), Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung (Tanjung Papat), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang), Jannie Lasimbang (Kapayan), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas), Peto Galim (Inanam), and himself as the assemblyman for Kadamaian.

“This is about principles… This is the Sabah version of the ‘Sheraton Move’. We cannot accept that (backdoor government). This is a very important principle to us,” he added.

The Sheraton Move refers to the exodus of several PKR MPs to opposing parties in February 2020, which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after just 22 months in power.