KOTA KINABALU, Sept 15 — Vilified by Barisan Nasional (BN) for crossing the floor at a crucial moment after the results GE14 came out, Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau is battling his branding as a political katak or frog.
The Tuaran MP, who is now in the running for the Kiulu state seat in the September 26 Sabah election, said the accusations of betrayal continue to this day for his actions two years ago that led to the formation of the Warisan Plus government.
“They keep accusing me of being katak, and I keep on saying, how can I? There was nothing for me to jump from. There was no government at the time. We formed it together with Warisan and Pakatan Harapan. Upko didn’t jump,” Tangau told reporters after a ceramah in Kampung Kolam here last night.
“They call me a traitor, but to who? They had already lost the federal government then, and the state — we had 29 seats then, so we lost. They did not lose because of me. I worked hard and I won,” he said, pointing out that Upko had won five out of the six seats it contested.
The caretaker deputy chief minister said that at the end of the day, parties which contested against Umno did well and the data showed that 61 per cent of voters voted against the government.
“It showed people wanted change. This is what we saw so we thought why not go along with the people. I went along with the people’s wishes. I’m not betraying people. They spoke. I didn’t jump, I’m still Upko, I didn’t change,” he said.
Tangau told reporters that people even came up to his wife and criticised him for being a katak, a term used to describe political party-hopping or “jumping” from one party to another.
“She has to ask them: how many parties have they been in? I’ve never changed parties. I’m still in Upko. I am not a frog,” he said.
Tangau has been the target of BN’s jokes and reason for losing Sabah during GE14 in 2018.
In the results past midnight on March 9, 2018, Warisan Plus and BN were locked in a stalemate of 29 seats each, leaving an Opposition party — Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (STAR) with its two seats, as the decider.
STAR supported the BN coalition with Tan Sri Musa Aman as chief minister, but barely a day later, it was announced that Upko, with its five assemblymen and six assemblymen from Umno were leaving in favour of Warisan.
Warisan eventually formed the Sabah government and BN parties had been blaming Tangau’s defection ever since.