Shafie: GLCs in Sabah may be merged, downsized

Shafie Apdal addressing state and federal employees in Kota Kinabalu today

KOTA KINABALU: The restructuring of the public service in Sabah may involve a reduction in the number of government-linked companies (GLCs) and their head counts, said Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

He said the government was looking at agencies handling the same scope of work although he did not specify them.

“I find there are many GLCs … if we need to merge them because of overlapping, we will.

“If we need to downsize them, we will do it too,” he said to reporters today after addressing about 1,000 state and federal employees at a joint assembly for the first time since he took office last month.

“We don’t want too many agencies to avoid wastage.”

He said it was important to streamline the existing state services with those provided by the federal government in Sabah.

Shafie urged public employees to change their mindset and adopt a new work culture as the Parti Warisan Sabah-led government wanted to have more engagement with the grassroots.

He said the administration at district or council levels must also change.

“Don’t just meet with the YBs (elected representatives). It (projects) might be what the YBs want but maybe they are not what the rakyat want,” he said.

He outlined 13 core initiatives set by the state government to fulfil the aspirations of Sabahans, among which were the restructuring and enhancement of the state administration, expediting land ownership for natives, promoting equality for all ethnic groups and upgrading health and education.

“We need to restructure the system, not only to ensure we are getting the right people in the right places but also to improve the delivery system.

“We must prioritise the feelings of those at the grassroots who supported us … who shouldn’t be forgotten just because we are now in power.

“That power is temporary. It is not a luxury for me to become the chief minister, to abuse my power. This is not my house (but) the house for every Sabahan,” he said.

Shafie said the people voted in the last election for change at the national and state levels and it was important for the government to deliver what the people wanted.

He told the government officers that the assembly was important to enable them to understand the policies and subsequently work together with the government towards achieving the targets.

The chief minister also introduced his Cabinet ministers from Warisan and its allies DAP, PKR and Upko to the audience.

Meanwhile, in his speech, state secretary Sukarti Wakiman said there were 133,568 public servants in Sabah, comprising 21,213 state and 112,355 federal employees.

“From this figure, the government is still the biggest employer and the preferred employer for people seeking jobs.

“This scenario cannot go on. That is why the private sector needs to grow to provide more employment opportunities to school and university graduates,” he said.

He also pointed out that the stand of the public service was to be loyal to the government of the day.

As such, Sukarti said, the civil service must move as a team with the government and avoid actions that could be seen as going against the aspirations of the government.