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KOTA KINABALU, July 30, 2015:

Sabah Umno is weakening by the day and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s removal from the federal Cabinet is just “adding salt to the wound”.

State Reform Party (Star) Sabah chief Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the friction between the former Rural and Regional Development Minister and Sabah’s No. 1 Datuk Seri Musa Aman was no secret.

“Shafie’s removal will lead to either Umno’s split or one faction going local. One thing for sure — Sabah Umno will be weakened,” he told The Rakyat Post.

Shafie and four others, including former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, were axed from the federal Cabinet by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak after they spoke out on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

The Bingkor assemblyman, meanwhile, said it was not impossible for Shafie to lead a Camp B within Sabah Umno or, worse, set up a new party to retaliate against his colleagues in politics.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said it was more of a waiting game to see Shafie’s next move

Sabah Umno, the former Chief Minister said, had been split along the lines of Musa vs Shafie. Only now, he added, it had come to a head and was out in the open.

“But it’s still too early to say anything about Umno’s future in politics. For now, he (Shafie) will wait (to retaliate). So we all have to wait for his move, if any.”

A BN leader, who declined to be named, expected an “interesting power struggle” within Umno, especially when approaching the next general election.

While it was no secret that Musa and Shafie could not see eye to eye, the leader pointed out that Musa and Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Salleh Said Keruak were also in that same situation at one point.

Yet, Salleh is now a federal (Communications and Multimedia) Minister.

The source also felt that Musa would feel uncomfortable even though Salleh, Shafie and Dewan Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia were in the United Sabah Bajau Organisation

“But if Shafie is to retaliate, I believe he will do it within the decorum of the party. He is still an MP and had performed well during his tenure as a federal minister. It’s sad that he fell out because of many issues.

“However, I expect him, as the Umno vice-president, to continue and build up his reputation. Perhaps, one day, he can push for a state seat,” said the BN leader.

Sabah Wanita Umno chief Datuk Armani Mahiruddin, meanwhile, believed that the removal of several leaders from the federal Cabinet would not affect the party.

She said while it was the prerogative of the Prime Minister to reshuffle the Cabinet, it was important for Umno members to work together and find a solution.

“Bickering and bad mouthing your own colleagues is not the practice of Barisan Nasional or Umno.

“I believe the situation here will not change and we will work together as one, under the leadership of our Prime Minister.”

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