Shafie hints at action against assembly secretary after Sabah swearing-in fiasco

Vacant seats in the opposition bench of the Sabah state assembly during the special sitting on June 11. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said he would not take lightly any action to undermine his state government, including when the state assembly secretary Bernard Dalinting failed to inform him of the swearing-in of 19 opposition assemblymen.

Shafie said stern action would be taken against those who went against the rules of the assembly.

“There is a procedure,” he said, adding that state secretary Sukarti Wakiman would be consulted on any disciplinary action.

“But I have to be very firm – no nonsense with me. I don’t care who they are… when it comes to running the state, they must toe the line. If they don’t, they know what they will get,” he told reporters today.

It was speculated that Dalinting was given the boot after failing to inform Shafie or the state government of the swearing-in of the assemblymen on July 12.

Dalinting has refused to comment.

When asked about the matter, Shafie said: “We’ll see how it is. There will be changes here and there. This is the new government and the rules must be respected.”

Shafie said under the standing orders of the Sabah assembly, officials must notify the chief minister of any official ceremony in the assembly building.

“They must understand that it’s not interference from the state government or the chief minister,” said the Warisan president and Semporna MP.

“Whatever they do, the state government must know and we must inform the governor,” he said.

“I’m the chairman of the Sabah state assembly committee. It’s important that we ensure there is discipline in the state’s administration” he added.

Shafie and other assemblymen from Warisan, Pakatan Harapan and Upko were sworn in during the state assembly’s special sitting on June 11.

Shafie also secured a vote of confidence from 43 assemblymen, including four nominated reps, during the special sitting.

However, the 19 opposition reps who boycotted the sitting took their oaths of office in a simple ceremony held in the speaker’s chamber the next day.

Shafie said the Sabah governor’s seal should be physically visible during a swearing-in.

“Not only the state speaker must be present but the ‘cokmar’ (seal) too… It symbolises the powers of the governor. I know the procedure because I have many years of experience in Parliament,” he said.

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