The war of attrition continues over the sudden withdrawal of Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) from Barisan Nasional last week as a “shocking revelation” came to light.
Its disgruntled ex-deputy president Raymond Tan claimed on Saturday that he had been instrumental in preventing the arrest of party president Yong Teck Lee in June in relation to allegations of corruption.
An English-language daily in Sabah quoted Tan as saying that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had wanted Yong arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). This was after Yong spearheaded a no-confidence vote against Abdullah’s leadership.
In defending himself against claims of ingratitude by failing to support the Sapp pullout, Tan revealed that he had intervened on Yong’s behalf in June.
He said he had pleaded with Abdullah not to arrest Yong as it would be a bad move, and had even gone on television with a plea to allow the latter to speak up.
Tan, who has since quit the party, claimed he had always been protective of Yong and that this has not changed in spite of their differences of opinion over the Sapp pullout.
In an immediate response, Sapp newly-appointed information chief Chong Pit Fah described this as a “a shocking revelation […] that he can influence the prime minister to stop ACA action”.
“This is an admission by a BN deputy chief minister that the prime minister can interfere with ACA work,” Chong said in a statement issued yesterday.
He also wanted to know if the same influence could be used on other persons such as serving ministers, or similarly abused.
Chong explained that the Sapp boss had volunteered in June to give a statement to the ACA but that the agency had not contacted him.
Yong could not be reached for comment as he is abroad.
Sabah CM: Tan to stay in cabinet
Tan met with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman this morning to discuss his position in the state cabinet since he is no longer in BN. He is required to resign his posts, but was reportedly reluctant to do so.
After the meeting, Musa announced that Tan would remain as his deputy for now.
A final decision on the matter will be made after Musa has met with top BN leaders.
Sapp, meanwhile, has cast doubt over the actual number of its Tanjung Papat division members who were said to have resigned on Saturday, in support of Tan. The figure was put at 2,000 members.
Tan is the elected representative for the Tanjung Papat state seat.
Assistant secretary-general Foo Fook Ming said the central committee has yet to receive resignation letters from the members and leaders concerned.
He said only Youth chief and Elopura state assemblyperson Au Kam Wah and supreme council member Jimmy Wong have submitted their resignation letters to date.
Foo also pointed out that there are only 1,791 registered members in the Tanjung Papat division.
“So, I wonder where the extra members have come from – are they phantom members?’ he asked rhetorically.