Problem in Sabah think tank indicates Shafie weak, says Jeffrey

State opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan says the official announcement that Johan Ariffin Samad is no longer the IDS CEO should have been done by Shafie Apdal.

KENINGAU: Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan said Chief Minister Shafie Apdal is seen as being weak for trying to please both sides in the issue over the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah.

He also said there was a breakdown in communication between the state government and IDS, its think tank.

He was commenting on the official announcement that Johan Ariffin Samad was no longer the institute’s CEO by IDS chairman Simon Sipaun. Kitingan said it should have been done by Shafie.

Kitingan, who helped form IDS during the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government and was its first CEO, said IDS was formed to assist the chief minister and advise him on issues relevant to the work tasked to the IDS.

“By right, the announcement that Johan is no longer the CEO should be done by the chief minister, not the IDS chairman. Even if the decision was made by the IDS, the chairman should meet the chief minister and discuss the matter.

“Of course, the chief minister would have to refer to the chairman about the decision, and then decide and eventually announce it to the public,” said the Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president.

Shafie said last week that he would consult Sipaun about the situation with Johan but did not say when the meeting would be held.

Johan, who was told on May 29 that he would not be retained in the post following the conclusion of his 6-month probation period, met Shafie on Jun 3.

He was told to stay put by Shafie as the chief minister wanted to hear both sides of the story before making his decision.

Sipaun, however, said the decision was final as it was made by the board of directors and the chief minister’s opinion on the matter was a different issue altogether.

Kitingan said both Shafie and Sipaun should come to a common stand and the final decision should come from the chief minister’s office.

“The problem is, when you try to please everybody, no decision can be made. It sure seems like that now. A strong leader knows it is impossible and unwise trying to please everybody.

“Somebody needs to show a strong will because Sabah really needs a stable government. Right now, it seems like the government is shaky in many departments,” he said.