KUNDASANG: Former Tenom district officer Siriman Bashir has claimed that he was once directed to prevent then-rural and regional development minister Shafie Apdal from attending a briefing at the Tenom district office.
In a statement today by Parti Warisan Sabah, he said before Shafie’s arrival at the Tenom district office, he received a call from his superiors in Kota Kinabalu informing him that he was not to conduct any briefing at the office.
“Datuk Seri (Shafie), I was the one who was told to prevent you from getting a briefing on Tenom’s rural development programmes despite the fact you were the federal minister.
“I received orders from my superiors, who were acting on orders from someone higher than them.
“Nevertheless, the briefing was still carried out at the Tenom Umno office later.”
Shafie is now Warisan president.
Siriman, who is Warisan’s candidate for Kundasang, had spoken about this at a meet-the-people session in Ranau in the presence of Shafie a few weeks ago.
Today, Siriman said he needed to issue the statement to put things right as Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman had claimed Shafie was lying when he said he was denied the opportunity of meeting local state officials when he was minister.
Musa, when speaking in Tongod yesterday, said he did not stop Shafie as he wanted to see “greater development in Sabah”, adding that he wanted to provide better infrastructure and basic utilities, such as water and electricity as well as roads, especially in the rural areas.
Musa accused Shafie of spreading untruths and covering up his own failure to deliver on his promises to Sabah when he was the minister.
Shafie had alleged in his speeches during his statewide tour that Musa had prevented him from being briefed by Sabah district officers as well as district engineers and heads of the district Public Works Department.
According to Siriman, although the order to bar Shafie from getting a briefing at the Tenom district office did not come from Musa himself, the people could use their own judgment as to who was behind the order.
“Datuk Seri (Shafie), I had no choice but to follow orders. Fortunately, we held that briefing at the Umno office instead and for that I apologise,” said Siriman.