Kota Kinabalu (The Star/ANN) - Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin announced his resignation as United Malays National Organisation (Umno) supreme council member and as Beaufort division chief but stopped short of leaving the party or stepping down as Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister.
Lajim, 57, spoke against Umno and about working with Pakatan Rakyat in the elections to bring change to Sabah yesterday.
He left it to the Umno supreme council to decide on his party membership and to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to decide on his deputy minister's post.
Lajim, who has been hinting about leaving Barisan for the past seven months, said he quit the positions because the supreme council failed to act on a report over the need for change in the party's state leadership.
"I gave a report about serious issues in the state to the supreme council but there was no action. As a supreme council member, if they think I am lying and gave a false report, it is best for me to quit," said Lajim who is expected to launch a Sabah coalition for change movement together with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in Beaufort today.
Asked why he was not leaving Umno after being so critical of both the Barisan and the Federal Government, he said: "I have my reasons."
Based on his 30-minute speech before breaking fast at his Likas house here, it was clear that he was leaving the party.
It is also learnt that Upko deputy president Wilfred Bumburing is expected to announce his decision to quit his party in Tuaran today.
Bumburing, who is Tuaran MP, is also expected to launch the movement for change.
Lajim is the third MP to leave the Barisan since the 2008 general election. Sabah Progressive Party's two MPs Eric Majimbun (Sepangar) and Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) withdrew from Barisan in September 2008.
In Pekan, Najib said he would make a decision on Lajim's fate tomorrow, adding that his resignation had been expected.
"He has decided to quit and as a party leader I accept it,'' he said after performing Isyak and Terawih prayers with villagers in Masjid Ubudiah, Kampong Mambang here last night.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president, said that in Umno, loyalty was what mattered.
He said differences in the party were normal and any shortcoming could be solved amicably.