GE15: War of words grows between Bung Moktar and Kiandee over Beluran seat

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 13 — A verbal war has erupted between Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia vice president Datuk Ronald Kiandee after the latter was seen as breaking ranks to contest on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket.

Bung in his campaign earlier today did not mince words when he lashed out at the Bersatu Beluran incumbent, calling him a traitor who should be ousted.

"He couldn’t accept the fact (that he was dropped from the candidate list) so he went against the current. When going against the current, only one in a million can survive.

"He had won under BN all this while, for five terms — 25 years — we carried him, but what has he done? The people here said that there have been no significant changes,” said Bung in his speech in Beluran today.

"Now he calls us traitors but he is the real traitor. A traitor to the people of Beluran. People like him need to be punished. And the punishment is not to vote for Ronald. It is haram to us. This is how to teach leaders who are not self-aware,” he said.

He further said that all GRS and BN leaders who were supporting other candidates outside of their pact should also be ousted. This includes village chiefs, development and safety committee members(JPKK) and civil servants who are clearly in support of opposition candidates.

"I will be seeing chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor about this. Anyone who doesn’t support the government will be taken action against because Hajiji and I have only sanctioned 25 candidates as the state government’s choice,” he said.

By the afternoon, Kiandee has retorted during his own campaign and said that such threats go against the spirit of democracy and obstructed the freedom of citizens to vote for whoever they wanted.

"Bung Moktar does not have the right to force Beluran voters with threats to vote for his candidate.

"He should be practicing healthy campaigning instead of unscrupulously committing election offences like threatening people just to protect his candidate,” he said.

He said that Beluran voters would reject such dirty campaigning tactics.

He said that he would be making a police report as well as report Bung to the Election Commision for speech that was akin to threatening the voters in Beluran.

Kiandee, who is the caretaker agriculture and food industries minister had created controversy by going against the state GRS-BN pact and contesting on a PN ticket in Beluran. The seat, which was won by Kiandee in 2018, who contested on a BN ticket, was given to Umno to contest this GE15. They fielded newcomer Benedict Asmat.

Kiandee then got national approval to contest on a PN ticket a move that shook the GRS-BN relations which were already seen as precarious. Bersatu, the lynchpin of GRS, is also the lynchpin of PN. However, PN and BN are at odds at the national level.

But both Sabah GRS and Sabah BN decided to continue their working relationship by jointly governing the state together and asked for autonomy from their national leadership.