Former Sabah chief minister Salleh Said Keruak has emphasised the need to build a strong relationship between the state and federal governments.
He said this in a media statement explaining the reason he and more than a dozen Sabah Umno elected representatives announced their resignations from the party this afternoon.
Salleh, who served in former premier Najib Abdul Razak's cabinet as the communications and multimedia minister, said the last general election changed the entire political landscape.
“Most of us joined Umno when the party first came to Sabah in 1994 so that the state would not be isolated from Putrajaya and be left behind, while other states moved forward and developed.
“GE14, however, has changed the entire landscape of Malaysian politics. The Umno-led BN is no longer the federal government and Sabah Umno can no longer sway Putrajaya like it used to,” he added.
Salleh said the future of Sabah and its continued growth and development now lie in the hands of the state government and would depend on the relationship between the state and Putrajaya.
“Taking this new political reality into consideration, my colleagues and I decided to leave Umno so that we can focus on the future of Sabah and ensure Sabah's growth and development.
“For this to happen, we need to build a strong relationship between the state and federal governments. This is the immediate priority as much needs to be done and with the uncertainties in the global economy focus becomes even more important,” he added.
Those who quit Sabah Umno have pledged their support for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Prior to the general election, Salleh had often defended Najib against Mahathir's criticism regarding the 1MDB scandal.