KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah assistant minister today defended a decision by the state infrastructure development ministry to reserve one of the lifts for the ministry’s top officials at its building here.
Assistant Infrastructure Development Minister Abdul Muis Picho confirmed a letter to this effect had been circulated internally but said this was a non-issue as there were three other elevators for the public to use in the building.
The former Umno assemblyman also pointed out this ruling was not new, adding it was a practice even when Barisan Nasional was still in power.
“We have four elevators at the ground lobby. Two of those open to the public can go to all the seven floors while a third only goes up to the sixth floor.
“The last one (reserved for top officials) can only access the fifth and seventh floor, which houses the Public Works Department (PWD) and the ministry’s offices respectively,” Muis told FMT.
He said people who wanted to meet ministry officials, including the minister or assistant minister, can still use this special lift after notifying the security guards.
The letter, dated Feb 7, which went viral on social media, was said to have been issued to the state PWD director by the ministry’s permanent secretary.
It stated that under the directive of Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony, one of the lifts would be used exclusively by the minister, assistant minister, permanent secretary, state PWD director and other department heads.
The letter drew flak from netizens who accused the ministry, especially Anthony, of demanding special treatment.
Muis claimed that during the BN administration, this reserved elevator would be locked after the minister had gone up to his office and no questions were raised.
Muis added safety was one of the considerations in reserving the elevator for the top officials.
“I think this matter has been blown out of proportion.”
He said he had never seen people queueing up at the lobby as there were enough lifts for everyone.