SAPP Pulls Out Of BN, Stays Independent
The Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has decided to pull out of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition to become an independent party.
The party’s supreme council, which met this afternoon, has opted to be an opposition party but will not join Pakatan Rakyat for now.
“The Sapp supreme council has declared that the party is no longer a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition,” party president Yong Teck Lee at a packed press conference at 4.30pm after the council meeting.
“We will be independent at the moment and provide quality opposition in and outside the parliament, as well as the state assembly, until the time comes when Sapp is ready to be back in the government.”
The party has two parliamentarians and four state assemblypersons.
The two MPs are Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau), while the state representatives are Tan (Tanjong Papat), assistant state finance minister Melanie Chia (Luyang), Au Kam Wah (Elopura) and Liew Teck Chan (Likas).
“The BN has lost its moral authority to rule. Numerical majority in Parliament means little if the people no longer respect you,” he said.
“Sapp members who hold political appointments in the executive branch of government shall relinquish their posts by giving the due notice under the constitution and relevant rules and regulations, starting at the cabinet level.”
An upset Sapp deputy president Raymond Tan, who walked out of the council meeting, said he would resign as Sabah deputy chief minister and state minister for infrastructure development.
According to Tan, he has yet to decide on whether he would quit the party, but said that Youth chief Au – who did not attend the meeting – has already resigned.
Richard Yong, the right-hand man to party president, also toldMalaysiakini that 32 out of the 35 supreme council members were present this afternoon when the decision was made.
He disclosed that Tan and Wong, who is political secretary to Chief Minister Musa Aman, opposed the decision.
A fresh blow to BN
The Sapp decision today comes as a fresh blow for the beleaguered government at a time when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is signing up defectors from BN.
Yong said Sapp was not joining Anwar’s three-member Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.
“But we will be in consultation with all parties, Pakatan included, that shares our beliefs and struggles,” he said.
Sapp has been an irritant to the coalition since June, when it called for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and its departure from the coalition was not unexpected.
In the past it has said it would consider joining the opposition, which has actively courted disaffected lawmakers in Malaysia’s underdeveloped eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Yong has previously attacked the coalition’s record in impoverished Sabah, saying it had been subject to unfair laws and excessive taxes.