KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah Umno leader has clarified that Putatan MP Datuk Shahelmey Yahya, whose membership has been suspended for six years, is still very much a party member.
This was to address the confusion over news reports that Shahelmey, who is also Tanjung Keramat assemblyman, would automatically be dropped from the party after his suspension period.
“I would like to stress that Shahelmey is still an Umno member,” Putatan division head Jeffery Nor Mohamed said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 3).
He said Shahelmey himself muddied the waters further when he told a local daily during the Warriors’ Day celebration on Monday (July 31) that he accepted the “dropping” with an open heart.
He said he was confused as to whether or not Shahelmey himself was certain of his status.
Jeffery said it was clear from the statement by party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when launching an event here the day before that Shahelmey’s membership still stood.
“He (Shahelmey) is not an independent representative.
“As the Putatan Umno division chief (the Tanjung Keramat state constituency lies within the Putatan parliamentary area), I confirm that he is still a Putatan Umno member as membership for this division is under my jurisdiction,” he said.
But he warned that, should Shahelmey use this as an excuse to switch parties, it meant that he was bound by the anti-party hopping legislation at both state and Federal levels, and must vacate both his state and parliamentary seats.
It was reported that Shahelmey, a Deputy Chief Minister, said he had yet to be officially informed of his suspension despite the announcement made by Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin in April.
When asked if Umno would send Shahelmey an official suspension letter, Ahmad Zahid told reporters on Sunday (July 30) that the matter would be dealt with internally, indicating a letter was not necessary.
However, there was confusion among the media when the Deputy Prime Minister said Shahelmey’s membership would be “gugur secara automatik” (dropped automatically) as the latter violated party rules.
Ahmad Zahid subsequently said the suspension would be handled internally in the spirit of the unity government, adding that Shahelmey was also an MP and assemblyman representing the unity government.
Towards this end, Jeffery called on Shahelmey to show proof he had been dropped as an Umno member.
“It is his right to voice support for anyone else (other than Umno) but the (Federal) Constitution and the anti-party hopping law must be respected,” he said.
Shahelmey and several other Sabah Barisan Nasional/Umno assemblymen continued to support Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government during the Jan 5 failed political coup by Sabah Barisan and Parti Warisan.
– The Star