Finally Deputy Federal Minister and United Malays National Organisation Supreme council member cum Beaufort divisional chief Lajim Hj Ukim is saying bye bye to UMNO/Barisan national. In not so many words but in front of a crowd of about 500 people at Kampung Bukit Kallam on July 18 Lajim has openly stated that he intends to join the opposition Pakatan Rakyat headed by Anwar Ibrahim.
“I will sacrifice my RM20,000 monthly pay and perks as a minister for my struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights and fight corruption and cronyism,” he said. He also said that he is expected to be sacked from UMNO and that he did not expect to be re-nominated by BN-Umno to defend his seat in this coming 13th General Election which must be held before April 2013.
Lajim was speaking in the house of former Kuala Penyu independent candidate John Ghani the former strongman from USNO, now PKR.
So, its no more rumour, this is final. Lajim wants out from UMNO and is hoping to be sacked so that he could get some sympathy votes and earn brownie points from his supporters.
By obtaining a sack, Sabah’s famous party hopper the Deputy Federal Minister of Housing and Local Government, is hoping to project himself as the sole champion of Sabahans who is oppressed by Putrajaya, as someone who is able to push and prod the Barisan National government at the Centre into working for the greater common good and struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights.
Lajim will do anything to enhance his political image, even if this means humiliating his senior colleagues in the party including Chief Minister Musa Aman, who heads UMNO and the BN in Sabah. Remember in 1987 he did the same, in-front of the press and dignitaries, in the Istana, he humiliated his boss Party President Pairin Kitingan during the swearing in ceremony because he was not appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. Instead Pairin appointed Baharum Titingan who lost his state seat as Deputy Chief Minister. Lajim was so frustrated then, he couldn’t control his emotions and was screaming profanity and vulgarity and used words like “menteri kalah menteri tewas”.
Then in 1994 he defected from the opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election. His action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government.
Now, Lajim has got an axe to grind with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman. He thinks Musa Aman did not nominate him to defend the Beaufort Klias seat for BN in the last 2008 general election. This is not true because its Musa who actually pleaded to the BN chief the former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Lajim be included in the BN candidate list. In fact Lajim’s own division didn’t want him as a candidate in Klias then.
Musa Aman is obviously not taken aback by the developments; if Lajim had only indicated what his grouses were, Musa would have presumably found a way to oblige Lajim. Musa Aman is a very fair man and always accommodating. But what Lajim wanted was not just development funds for his Klias constituency or BN cutting off his MP development fund allocation as he says, but one he could first criticise and then re-mould into his very own dream i.e to become chief minister of Sabah.
Lajim is working hand in glove with Shafie Apdal to pull down Musa Aman. Shafie Apdal too dreams to become chief minister of Sabah. Shafie Apdal is even rumoured to have given Lajim Ukim RM150 million road project from his Rural Ministry.
The strategy is, if Lajim continues with his tantrums, Najib, sooner or later, might come to believe there is no future in Musa Aman continuing as chief minister. And given this fractious relationship, any political development could serve as the trigger for a major upheaval. The moment Lajim withdraws support from UMNO, others inside and outside the alliance will begin to exercise their leverage. So he thinks. Lajim and Shafie wants the prime minister to intervene in Sabah’s affairs but that’s the last thing Najib would want to do because Musa Aman is doing a great job as chief Minister of Sabah and his governance is par excellence. So, why should Najib rock the boat?
Anyway, “Little Bird” has told me that Lajim Ukim will join join Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat once he officially leaves via a sack from UMNO which would happen pretty soon. It seems Anwar Ibrahim has agreed to make Lajim the No 1 man for PKR in Sabah. Anwar has even promised Lajim that if Pakatan wins the Sabah elections and if PKR gets the most number of seats Lajim would be chief minister, something Lajim has been dreaming since 1994.