SEMPORNA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who was dropped from the Cabinet last week, has denied that he was planning to join a Sabah opposition party.
"It's a lie,'' Shafie said during his first meet-the-people session in Semporna, Sabah following his dismissal as Rural and Regional Development Minister by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"After I was dropped, some people spread the story that I am leaving Umno and will join United Sabah National Organisation (Usno Baru),'' he said.
He assured his supporters that he would remain in Umno and continue to work towards strengthening the party.
"I have not lost my focus to assist and continue striving for the rakyat though I do not have any Cabinet position,'' he told a huge crowd on his return to his home base here on Monday.
Shafie said he has remained loyal to Umno since the day the party spread its wings to Sabah in 1991 and would continue to work towards serving the people.
"All of us must remain loyal to the party. We must continue our struggles for the people,'' he said at the gathering attended by Semporna Umno deputy division chief Datuk Seri Nasir Tun Sakaran, who is also Senallang assemblyman, Sulabayan assemblyman Datuk Jaujan Sambakong and other Semporna division leaders.
He said that position was not important but the main focus was for working for the party, people and country.
"A leader must have principles and do the right things,'' he said, in urging Semporna Umno members to put party above self, and respect the leadership.