PENAMPANG: In politics there are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends.
A few state political figures who used to be “together” in USNO before were present at the launch of Wisma USNO which was graced by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor in Donggongon near here last night.
In addition to Hajiji, also present was former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who previously served as Speaker Dewan Rakyat, is now in charge of USNO.
The three leaders are now members of different parties, but seemingly they still feel nostalgia for fighting together in USNO when they first entered politics.
Hajiji is currently the Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah president while Salleh is the Sabah Umno treasurer.
This positive progression clearly demonstrates the maturity of democracy, particularly in Sabah.
Hajiji makes the voices of Usno’s struggles, challenges and long history clear in his opening speech for Wisma USNO.
Hajiji, who gave a touching speech while wiping away tears, used the nostalgia of the old struggle to give USNO the push it needed to get through the possible chaos and storm in the political arena.
USNO Baru is a revived version of the old Usno that was founded by Sabah pioneer Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun.
Its support, largely from the Muslim Bajau and Suluk communities waned with the entry of Umno into Sabah. Usno was dissolved in 1994 but returned in its present form in 2013.
USNO was established in 1961 by Tun Datu Mustapha, also known as the Father of Sabah Independence.
Prior to the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, USNO played a major role in cooperation with United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO), led by Donald Stephens, and the Federation of Malaya, in attaining independence from the British. UPKO was then dissolved and merged into USNO in 1967.
The party came into power after winning the 1967 state election. USNO remained in power until 1975 under Mustapha’s leadership, and until 1976 under Mohammad Said Keruak’s leadership.
In 1996, USNO was finally de-registered by the federal Registrar of Societies (RoS).