Labuan 'back to Sabah'
Published on: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Labuan: The island will revert to Sabah's control, at least politically, for the first time since becoming a Federal Territory 34 years ago with Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli (pic) certain to join Parti Warisan Sabah on Thursday, Daily Express can reveal.Rozman, a second-term MP, would become the latest elected representative to dump Umno in the process. He would also become Warisan's ninth MP. The move also ends five months of speculation over his political future since Pakatan Harapan formed the Federal Government and Umno became an opposition.

Rozman's acceptance into Warisan is expected to be announced on Thursday by Warisan Deputy President Datuk Darell Leiking when he addresses a political seminar for Warisan Labuan.

An informed source said "a meeting was held by local Warisan leaders two days ago on Rozman's interest in Warisan and the tone was, generally, welcoming." Warisan's electoral candidate here, Noor Halim Zaini when contacted over the matter would neither confirm nor deny, but said "just wait till Thursday."

Rozman, himself, could not be reached for comments. Rozman was asked to cross over to Warisan recently by vice chairman Datuk Junz Wong but he did not respond.

Labuan folks generally felt that being an opposition Umno MP did not benefit the island and that the once-ruling party even damaged the island's economy with a previous Umno Deputy Finance Minister arrogantly stripping the island of its duty-free importance by introducing new guidelines on who can and cannot sell alcoholic beverages, among others.

Beside, it was felt that the then Barisan Nasional Government took the island for granted and its resident for fools by dangling the building of the Labuan bridge as a carrot before every election and then withdrawing it on the excuse that further studies were needed.

The Umno MP was also seen as powerless because he had no State backing to the extent that the Sarawak State Government could force Petronas to consider Bintulu and not Labuan for its operations.

The MP did not defend his Umno chairmanship post at the recent party elections and is not known to hold any important posts in Umno.

Some believe that what finally influenced him to make up his mind could be the recent departure of Umno heavyweights Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohammad. Their exit followed reports that more Umno MPs would leave.

Rozman who served as Umno secretary before was the surprise choice of Umno during GE13. He won with a handsome majority 0f 6,069 votes but in PRU 14 in a four-cornered fight almost lost to Noor Halim. He managed a slim majority of 1,450 votes.

Though being as opposition MP and not as often invited for government functions, he was still invited to officiate many events of NGOs here. He popularity is due to his personality. - Sohan Das


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