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‘I’ve raised the stakes on debate with Harris’

 | May 31, 2012

Jeffrey Kitingan refuses to be like 'some leaders who make decisions for the state without following proper procedures' and have as such left Sabah in a mess.

KOTA KINABALU: Jeffrey Kitingan is ‘not chickening out’ of a debate with former chief minister Harris Salleh but he does however want to ensure that BN policymakers heed the issues raised and debated on.

And it is for this sole purpose that he has insisted on conditions for the proposed debate with Harris.

“I am not chickening out. What I have done is actually raised the stakes (by imposing conditions).

“I was challenged, so now I am making the bigger challenge.

“That’s why I said let’s not do it half way. If Harris cannot fulfill my conditions I can also say that he is chickening out.

“(So) the least he can do is to get himself appointed to officially represent the state and/or federal government (to debate),” said Jeffrey.

He was responding to the statement by Harris who said that insisting on his conditions being met, Jeffrey “is chickening out” from facing him.

Among the key conditions laid down by Jeffrey for the debate, which was sparked off by Chief Minister Musa Aman’s front-paged denial that Sabah is colonized by Kuala Lumpur, is that Harris be appointed as government or Musa’s spokesman and that the debate is allowed international coverage.

He said while he preferred to debate with Musa because the CM would know all the issues, he had no qualms about engaging Harris as long as he represented the government’s viewpoint.

“I admit Harris is an important man being a former chief minister, but technically he is a nobody politically because he is not part of the government and he is not even a leader or member of a political party.

“All he does is meddle in political issues like Tun (Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad), ” he said adding that going into a debate with Harris, as such, would be a waste of time because he would be debating with someone who will not be technically or politically responsible for what he will say.

‘Sabah is a mess’

Jeffrey further added that “BN leaders will just ignore what will be debated and continue to pretend to be blind and deaf to the pressing issues at hand.

“They will even deny any connection to what Harris will be saying, so the debate will have little purpose and benefit.”

Jeffrey said that he was unlike other leaders who made decisions “without following proper procedures.”

“I will not be like some leaders who make decisions for the state without following proper procedures.

“This is another reason why Sabah is in such a mess.

“We gave away Labuan to the federal government, gave our lands to Felda and Felcra and our oil rights without even getting clearance from the state cabinet.

“I just want to set a good example. That is why I insist on being professional and principled, and to follow proper protocol,” he said.


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