KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal says the appointment of five Warisan MPs into the federal Cabinet shows Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s faith in the state.
The five are Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking (international trade and industry minister), Warisan permanent chairman Liew Vui Keong (minister in the Prime Minister’s Department), Silam MP Mohamad Ketapi (tourism, arts and culture minister), Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman (deputy home minister) and Warisan Wirawati chief Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (deputy energy, green technology, science and climate change minister).
“This proves that the prime minister has faith in us. We knew there were many others in the Peninsular who were hoping to get these positions but he chose to give them to us. This is an acknowledgement to the party and Sabah. I hope those elected will serve the people well,” he said after the opening of the state assembly sitting by Head of State Juhar Mahiruddin.
Shafie said he handed in seven names to be considered by the prime minister and the other two remaining names would also be given positions.
However, the Sabah chief minister did not reveal who the two were or what was in store for them.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Pan Borneo Highway, Sabah’s single largest infrastructure project, Shafie said he was briefed on the project last week.
“We will restructure the methods of implementing the Pan Borneo Highway because we cannot do away with it, our people need this. I will present our proposal to the prime minister once we can find ways to cut the costs.
“We understand the financial difficulty faced by the federal government right now. However, we don’t want, because there is a problem there, the project is delayed or stalled,” he said.
Dr Mahathir has said that mega projects, including the Pan Borneo Highway, will be reviewed in view of the nation’s financial situation.
The 2,325km highway, which will provide a four-lane dual carriageway link between Sabah and Sarawak through Brunei, is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
It is funded by the federal government at an estimated cost of RM29 billion.
Earlier, in his speech, Juhar said the Sabah state government would focus on the production of high-value food crops using advanced technology.
He said safety and quality would also be given high priority to ensure good quality and highly nutritious produce.
“The (state) government will also implement various poverty eradication and income generation programmes for rubber smallholders in a bid to promote rubber cultivation,” he said.
For the fisheries sector, Juhar said the focus would be on raising production, including of seagrass and ornamental fish, besides continuing with efforts to help fishermen raise their income.