Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said today that he was unaware of former chief minister Datuk Seri Osu Sukam’s plans to contest the Papar Umno division head’s post, but said those who wished to contest any position should know whether or not they are qualified to do so.

“No, I did not receive any news (of Osu vying for the post), but whoever qualifies, they can stand,” Musa, who is also Sabah Umno Liaison chairman, told reporters after launching the Malaysian Institute of Accountants’ Regional Conference here Monday.

Local papers Monday reported that Osu, who served as Sabah chief minister from 1999-2001 but resigned from Umno in 2005 due to overseas gambling debts amounting to RM7.14 million, was planning for a comeback by standing for the post, which he had held several terms previously.

Papar Umno acting head Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail in the report had said the division would seek clarification on Osu’s status with Umno’s headquarters.

He said some members claimed that Osu had received the ‘blessings’ from the Umno leadership to contest for the post.

Meanwhile, asked about a news report recently of an Umno division chief and a division secretary being questioned by Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for allegedly being involved in money politics, Musa said it was up to the agency to conduct their investigations.

Asked if the state Umno liaison committee had been informed on the matter, he said: “I have not been told about it yet, I just came back from Penang last night.”

On the support from the State for the Permatang Pauh by-election, he said Sabah Umno was mobilising members of its youth, women and puteri wings to help their peninsular counterparts in campaigning for the Barisan Nasional.

Asked if Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is also lending its support, Musa said:” I have not heard yet, but other component parties, yes.”

The Permatang Pauh by-election, polling of which is on Aug 26, will see a three-cornered fight with Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim taking on the Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Hanafi Mamat of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim).

Meawhile, in his speech at the opening “Jesselton in Rememberence” exhibition at Wisma Pertanian here, Musa urged the people of Sabah to continue to remain united in promoting the diverse cultures of Sabahans.

He said Sabah’s success in all spheres to date was because its people, through made up of various ethnic groups, had mutual respect for each other.

The text of his speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin.

— BERNAMA