KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah assistant minister has denounced Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal for harbouring “bad intentions” towards Chief Minister Musa Aman while the former federal minister blamed Musa for making his job difficult.
Assistant Finance Minister Ramlee Marhaban said Shafie never treated Musa with the same courtesy he showed other chief ministers and menteris besar while serving as the minister of rural and regional development.
“Shafie had bad intentions against Musa for a long time and everybody knows this.
“He disregarded protocol and straight away went to the ground to carry out his projects without even notifying us.
“Of course those in the district levels were caught off guard,” he told FMT.
Shafie, the MP for Semporna on Sabah’s east coast, was one of the three vice-presidents of Umno before he was sacked from the federal cabinet. He went on to form opposition party Warisan in October last year.
He has repeatedly stated that he was treated like an outsider in Sabah when he was a federal minister and was denied access to information by district offices.
At one time when he was in Tenom, he said the district office was closed and Kemabong assemblyman Rubin Balang had to brief him on the state of the district in the Umno office there.
During a visit to Tamparuli, he said only Tamparuli assemblyman Wilfred Bumburing cared to meet him while the district officer and district engineer did not bother to show up.
Ramlee admitted that Shafie did his job as the rural and regional minister but he usually “bulldozed” his projects through without following the proper procedures or coordinating them with the local government.
“For example, his ministry built the MRSM (Mara junior science college) in Semporna without submitting any development plan. We were not informed and the land status was not even changed.
“That is why it was only opened recently after the land status was changed and other things put right even though it was completed some time ago,” he said.
Ramlee said any federal minister who wanted to do something with land must refer the matter to the state government first because land was under the state’s jurisdiction.
He regretted that Shafie had the courtesy to call upon the chief minister of Sarawak before proceeding with his projects in the state but did not show the same respect to Musa.
On the other hand, he said Ismail Sabri Yaakob had called on Musa after he took over Shafie’s portfolio as the rural and regional development minister.
“He told us his plans, his programmes for Sabah. That is the right thing to do. Other federal ministers did that. Shafie is a Sabahan. He owed his position to us. At least show us the respect we deserve,” he said.
Ramlee said he did not deny that Shafie achieved many good things for Sabah when he was in the cabinet.
“The problem is many of his projects just did not reach the target groups,” he said.
Some of these, he said, included the construction of low-cost homes in illogical locations, such as in estates where nobody wanted to stay or building roads on private land.
“Obviously, projects like these would make us question whether the intention was to help the people or to serve the interest of certain individuals,” he said.