SABAH BN smaller fixed deposit: Najib made a huge mistake as Lajim defected
When Lajim Ukin defected to UMNO from PBS in 1994 he was rewarded accordingly. He was given the preference to contest the federal seat in Beaufort in the 2008 general election replacing the UMNO incumbent Azizah Mohd Dun in the seat of Beaufort. He was subsequently appointed Deputy Minister for Transport, moving to the portfolio of Housing and Local Government in 2009. This is a promotion for him and Azizah was appointed as Sabah Community Development and Consumer Affairs minister.
Why Lajim was not happy and left BN
However this had not an advantage for Lajim because being a federal minister, he was not able to fully concentrate on his constituency which was very crucial for him to be in close rapport with the people in Beaufort. Besides money, help and any form of handouts, close contact and continuous relationship between leaders and their supporters in Sabah is the norm to ensure loyalty. Lajim was not happy that Azizah has all the opportunity to do so while he was busy at the federal level. She practically stole the limelight away from him.
Lajim had on several occasions expressed his misgivings to Musa Aman who refused to help resolve the issue but simply continued to fully support Azizah and sidelined Lajim. Musa favoured Azizah because she is not as ambitious as Lajim. Musa was also afraid that if Lajim became too popular and strong, he may challenge Musa. Later, this turned to be true when Lajim demanded that Musa be replaced with someone else as UMNO and BN leader in Sabah.
Lajim then met Najib in the hope that Najib will be able to convince Musa so that Lajim would have a fair share of role to play in Beaufort. Musa must have advised Najib not to pay any attention to Lajim citing that Lajim cannot do any harm in Sabah because Musa was fully in charge. Moreover Lajim is popular only in his constituency and has no clout elsewhere in Sabah. Najib told Lajim that he was not willing to get involved in state matters. That was the last straw for Lajim and since then he has set plan B into action; backstab Musa and Najib.
In this case Lajim has himself to blame because he could have used the advantage as Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government to win influence in other districts in Sabah but he was pre-occupied with the ones in Peninsula Malaysia.
Najib was not really interested with Sabah because he has entrusted Musa Aman to control everything in Sabah. Najib was also pre-occupied with his grand propaganda, ETP, GTP and various handouts and his popularity has shown some improvement. Najib was confident that Sabah will be the fixed deposit for UMNO/BN as always. So Najib simply ignored Lajim.
Lajim however was full of revenge. He had contemplated over the matter whether to be independent, form a new party or join the opposition. Anwar sensed the golden opportunity to come in to persuade and convince Lajim to join PKR or at least support PR. To help Lajim in making a decision to leave UMNO/BN Anwar lured Wilfred Bumburing as well, at least both Lajim and Wilfred will be a comfort for each other and build the confidence between them and announced their leaving BN recently.
Wilfred has not specifically given the reason behind his moves but he was generally unhappy with BN. Anyway he must have realized that as long as Bernard Dompok is UPKO president, he will never have the opportunity for his political advancement; Anwar has opened the door for him.
More could leave BN
There are several other politicians in Sabah that are not happy with their present situation. They will also be lured and take this opportunity if not for the Sabahans, just for themselves, especially those that have been overlooked by Musa and Najib.
Anwar will have to garner a large enough crowd to attract more people and this is what Anwar is doing. This is an opportunity of his life time, to convince not only the politicians in Sabah and peninsula Malaysia, but also the disgruntled BN politicians in Sarawak. Since there have been speculations that many will leave UMNO/BN, Najib being slow as usual should have executed an action plan to reverse the situation or at least try to prevent others to follow suit on an urgent basis, but slow Najib is always slow.
So after sending Muhyiddin on a futile effort to reverse the situation in Sabah, Najib did not make any pragmatic responds but instead issued some simple statements that it will not affect BN. This seemingly cool response by Najib is not the reality. What happened was that, when Najib heard about Lajim and Wilfred supporting Pakatan Rakyat, Najib was stunned. He was wrong not to take Lajim seriously and for trusting Musa too much. The cool response by Najib and several UMNO leaders was because they have not recovered from the initial stun. Najib and the UMNO leaders were caught off guard when Wilfred joined Lajim in leaving BN.
Najib huge mistake if he realize it
Najib should have got all the right facts or at least sensed that something was amiss and should have done something to prevent Lajim from making any drastic moves. However because of his callous attitude Najib this must be the greatest regret in his life. Now the possibility of PR winning is greater because the BN fixed deposit in Sabah is not a BN monopoly anymore.
Moreover, PR needs just about 5 or 6 parliamentary seats in Sabah to form the next government after GE-13. The fact is it is too late now and Najib cannot do anything about it; he is just trying to hold the UMNO/BN fort before it crumbles.
However is there any light at the end of the tunnel for Najib? Well, that will be another story.