PETALING JAYA, Aug 18 ― Appointing Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin to lead the party for the Sabah state election is a “suicidal move”, party Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has warned.
In a surprise press conference tonight, Abdul Rahman, who is also Tuaran Umno division chief, together with 12 other state division chiefs said Bung Moktar has “personal issues” which could be taken advantage by their enemies in the upcoming state election.
“We have this view that appointing an individual that is facing a court case while we are campaigning is a suicidal move.
“No party in the whole world would put someone who is actively attending court cases to lead the campaign,” he told reporters at the Royale Chulan hotel here.
Earlier today, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi named Bung Moktar, who is Kinabatangan MP, to lead the charge in the coming Sabah state election.
Abdul Rahman, who is also a former federal minister, said that he and other division chiefs have in the past objected to the decision and was disappointed that Zahid did not listen to them.
“We think that the decision by the president has betrayed the spirit of autonomy that he himself has promised to give Sabah Umno last year. We do not want to deny that Bung Moktar is our leader, but we want to win,” he said
Abdul Rahman also said that Zahid has yet to meet Sabah leaders who came today seeking a meeting with him.
“We came here to meet the president but until now he has yet to reply to our request for audience.
“The president is wise enough and he can understand what we mean by the spirit of autonomy according to our previous discussion before,” he said referring to a visit by Zahid to Sabah on August 5 where he has talked about the matter.
Asked whether he wanted former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman to lead in place of Bung Moktar, Abdul Rahman said the former has declined to be the elections director.
“We have other leaders that could lead as well,” he said.
Bung Moktar, 60, is currently charged in court with taking a bribe of RM2.2 million through his wife Zizie Ezette, while also receiving RM262,500 and RM337,500 in bribes for himself.
All charges were made under Subsection 17(a) of the MACC Act and offenders can be sentenced under Section 24 (1) of the same law, which provides for a jail term not exceeding 20 years and a fine not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Zizie Ezette, 41, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of abetting her husband on the same matters at the same place, dates and times.
The charges were framed under Section 28(1) (c ) of the MACC Act, and she is liable to imprisonment of not more than 20 years, and a fine not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.