Sabah delegates to China do not represent government, says ex-CM

Sabah Progressive Party president Yong Teck Lee. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee today questioned the credentials of the seven-man delegation sent by the Sabah government to China as a follow-up to the RM2 billion proposed investment by Chinese companies.

Yong, who is president of the Sabah Progressive Party, told FMT that none of the delegation members was from the government.

“Nor are they part of the government handling economic affairs or investments. So who do they speak for? What can they say about trade and tariffs? And how will they speak on investors’ incentives?” he said.

The seven men, led by Deputy Speaker George Ginibun, were reportedly sent by the Sabah government on the invitation of a group of investors from China who recently expressed interest in investing RM2 billion in various sectors in Sabah.

Other members of the team are state legislative assembly secretary Bernard Dalinting, special officer to the speaker Saimin Mirin, and four assemblymen: Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan), Masiung Banah (Kuamut), Tan Lee Fatt (Likas) and Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang).

Ginibun said the group, which was fully endorsed and approved by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, had been tasked with observing developments in the fields of economy, science, technology, industry and social development in China.

He said the visit was an opportunity for them to study the government structure of China, particularly the standing committee of its Provincial People’s Congress.

The group left for China yesterday and is expected to return on Oct 23.

Yong said the delegates should not portray themselves as representatives of the government or the executive as they were representing the legislature.

“As such, their foreign jaunts are limited to other legislatures or other parliaments,” he added.

He also questioned the nature of the RM2 billion investments, saying Shafie had not explained what companies would be coming in or which sector of the economy the money would be invested in.

Last month, Shafie said he had met with a group of investors from China who were prepared to invest no less than RM10 billion in “a particular sector” in Sabah which would create 3,000 jobs for locals.