KOTA KINABALU: Hii Chang Lik has suddenly been thrust into the limelight after social media went into overdrive over his appointment as the incoming president of the Sandakan Municipal Council.
Most of the attacks have been on his status as a Sarawak-born citizen but many have forgotten or are unaware that he was a municipal councillor for several terms under the Barisan Nasional government.
Karamunting assemblyman George Hiew said nobody complained about Hii or his status during his tenure as councillor then.
“There were no complaints when he was a municipal councillor previously. Hii was born in Sarawak but he has stayed in Sabah for more than 50 years.
“We want a Sandakan where people live in harmony and feel safe, where the economy is flourishing and we all feel proud to have a beautiful town,” he said in a statement today.
He said Hii’s appointment to head the Sandakan Municipal Council should not be used to attack the Warisan-led state government but viewed as an appointment based on merit.
He said the state was not opposed to non-Sabahans contributing to the development of the state.
“Let us be more inclusive. After all, we are all Malaysians. We want to make Sabah and Malaysia great again,” said the state assistant local government and housing minister.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, Junz Wong said the New Sabah government will put the interests of Sabahans above all but will not reject the contributions of non-Sabahans who are Malaysians.
“Those who are not born in Sabah but have stayed in Sabah long enough and are capable will be given the opportunity to contribute to the state and hence play a role in nation building,” he said.
The appointment of non-Sabahans to key positions in the state civil service is not unusual and has been the practice for almost 50 years.
Among them are Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood (from Kelantan) whose last post was as chairman of Sabah Tourism Board and Osman Walat, the general manager of Sawit Kinabalu, a government-linked company.