LABUAN: Labuan member of parliament Datuk Rozman Isli has left Umno for Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan).
Rozman submitted his application to join the party to Warisan deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking during a special ceremony here today.
Rozman, who has served as Labuan MP since 2013, said he decided to leave Umno after a lengthy deliberation and listening to various quarters.
He also said his departure from Umno is for the sake of Labuan's future and his constituents.
The shifting political landscape following the 14th General Election, he said, has opened an opportunity for Labuan to fix its present governing system.
At present, he said, Labuan was being governed by Putrajaya from afar, adding that the federal territory's strength as part of Borneo island was decreasing.
"Labuan needs more empowerment for it to move forward faster and closer with its neighbours. Its relationship with Sabah has to be closer and more precise.
"Therefore, it is fair to start the change by having a Labuan MP from a party based in Sabah. I believe this move will open a new chapter of closer, more productive and mutually beneficial ties between Labuan and Sabah," said Rozman today.
Besides Rozman, five MPs have quit Umno recently.
They are Datuk Seri Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati, Bukit Gantang MP Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal and Bagan Serai MP Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
Umno has also lost several assemblymen in various states since GE14.
Rozman, who was previously Labuan Umno division chief, said Labuan will benefit from closer ties with Sabah, especially in the oil and gas sector.
He also said he wants to join other Sabahan and Sarawakian leaders and fight for the return of state rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
"Alhamdulillah (Thanks be to God), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had expressed his commitment to realise our wish.
"I am also happy with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal's assurance to me that the federal and Sabah governments will give enough focus to Labuan."
Rozman said Labuan and the state government must usher in a new era of political, economic and administrative partnership.
"Labuan's unique economic situation and position in Malaysia makes my decision (today) necessary.
"I need to fulfil the wishes of the people who are generally affected by the decline of the oil and gas industry in Labuan.
"As their MP, the constituents need my help to expand the local economy quickly. I also want my second term to be both productive and beneficial to the people of Labuan."