PETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) today issued a swift response to the attack on its president Shafie Apdal by a Sabah Umno leader who had accused the former federal minister of neglecting his home state.
Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr turned the tables on Umno’s Pantai Manis assemblyman Rahim Ismail by questioning the benefits to the state despite Chief Minister Musa Aman boasting he was close to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“Rahim’s comments against Shafie was unbecoming especially when he, as a senior Umno politician, must have known how the Umno-BN system of governance works.
“Being close to the PM does not mean that you have the luxury to get all the things that you want.
“Rahim should ask Musa on this since despite his (Musa) boast of his close relationship with Najib, Musa could not even impress the latter on the stringent need for border security at Sebatik as highlighted by another state Umno leader last year,” Padua said.
Yesterday, Rahim, who is also Sabah Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman, said Shafie had every opportunity to do the things he is speaking about now when he was rural and regional development minister, yet he did not.
“Shafie had the opportunity to use his authority and influence when he was a federal minister to review the agreement with Felda. He could have reclaimed the lands unused under the scheme,” Rahim added.
Padua asked Rahim on what he had done for Sabah having once been the state agriculture minister.
“If Rahim dares to ask what Shafie did last time, then he (Rahim) should look in the mirror and ask himself what he had done for Sabah that could be quantified.
“Shafie has done so much not only for Sabah but for all Malaysians within the ambit of his scope as the federal minister. His efforts leading the rural and regional development ministry even received much praise from Pemandu,” Padua said, adding Shafie had also been accused of practising favouritism after having fought for a bigger allocation for Sabah every year.
Padua conceded that Shafie could be criticised for his past performance as a federal minister, but that Rahim had no right to judge the Warisan president as Rahim had been removed as the state agriculture minister by Musa Aman before.
Referring to the comment by Rahim that Sabah had electricity poles with no cables and water pipes with no water, Padua said it was the responsibility of the state government to provide water supply and the meter connection to every house.
Citing Shafie’s proposal to build a bridge to Bum Bum island, Padua said it was an example of how some proposals by Shafie as minister were approved by Putrajaya, but rejected by the state government.
“The state government under Musa Aman was not ‘friendly’ towards Shafie. Even local authorities were asked to boycott Shafie’s visits to some areas in Sabah, but it never stopped him from performing his duty,” Padua said.
On the accusation by Rahim that Shafie had created racial tension in the state, Padua said being in Umno, Shafie was just performing his duty as a leader of a race-based party.
“Shafie is not racist and Sabahans know it very well that he will never play racial sentiments.”