KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno Youth has denounced a police report against political activist Zainnal Ajamain over his recent criticism of Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.
The movement’s chief, Aziz Julkarnain, said the act of making the report was indicative of the autocratic attitude of the Warisan-led state government.
The report was lodged on Thursday by the Sepanggar chapter of Warisan Youth.
Speaking to FMT, Aziz said Warisan, by allowing the report, was showing that it was opposed to freedom of speech and would use its power to stop the public from criticising its weaknesses.
The report was prompted by a Facebook posting in which Zainnal compared Shafie unfavourably to former chief minister Musa Aman.
Aziz described Zainnal as a one-time strong Shafie supporter who has become disappointed with the government he heads out of concern for public interest.
He said people in the state were beginning to suffer the consequences of the government’s decision to cancel or defer development projects in the state.
He claimed that projects for the upgrading of schools, for example, had been discontinued because of a drastic reduction in the development budget allocated by Putrajaya and he accused Shafie of failing to put up a good fight against the decision.
He also said Shafie’s loud proclamations of “Sabah for Sabahans” had turned out to be empty talk whereas Musa’s quiet dealings with Putrajaya had resulted in the reduction of Sabah’s poverty rate from 19% to 2.9%, an increase in the state’s reserves from RM180 million to RM4 billion and a boost to the state’s economy to give it the highest GDP in the country.
He spoke as well of Musa’s success in persuading Putrajaya to allocate more than RM12 billion for the Pan Borneo Highway and RM1 billion for the repair of schools and grant inshore oil exploration rights to Sabah International Petroleum.
Zainnal also condemned the police report, saying Warisan Youth should have instead sued him if it was unhappy with his criticism.
“I actually hoped they would take the matter to court because then it would give me room to counter-sue them,” he said.
“This is an unhealthy development as it shows that this eight-month-old Warisan government cannot accept criticism. I cannot help but notice that this is one of the traits that led to Umno’s loss in the last election.”
He alleged that Sepanggar Warisan Youth did not know the difference between a criminal and a civil case.
“And if they think I defamed their leader, then that also means they don’t know the difference between criticism and defamation,” he said.