Sabah setting up integrity unit at CM’s office, says Shafie

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal says he will visit Kalimantan to explore opportunities for the state.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is setting up an integrity unit in the office of the chief minister to check on corruption and other irregularities, Shafie Apdal said.

The state government has been discussing this for some time, Shafie said when commenting an a call by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Latheefa Koya for integrity units to be set up in offices of chief ministers and menteris besar.

“Yes, we will adhere to that. We already have an integrity mechanism to check on our delivery system,” he told reporters at his office here today.

Shafie said the state government will cooperate with MACC to realise the integrity unit at the chief minister’s department.

Latheefa had said yesterday that only Sarawak was embarking on such a unit, called the State Integrity and Ombudsman Unit (Union).

She urged all the states to follow in Sarawak’s footsteps to avoid criticism of their respective state governments.

She said such a unit was vital because the potential for corruption was higher at the state level than at federal level as the states had more access to resources like land and logging-related activities.

An MACC senior officer would be placed at each unit to ensure transparency in governance, she said.

Meanwhile, Shafie said he would be visiting Kalimantan next month to explore potential opportunities with Sabah’s neighbour in line with the Indonesian government’s decision to move its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

He said the trip to resource-rich Kalimantan, where he will spend several days before moving to Tarakan, is to reciprocate a visit by leaders from the Indonesian province to Sabah earlier this year.

“They have been inviting me since early this year but I couldn’t make it because of work. I will go after my trip to Kuching on Sept 16.

“Kalimantan has vast potential as it is rich in resources such as coal and oil and this will benefit Sabah’s economic growth,” he said.

Shafie said he would also speak to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on ways to ensure Malaysia, and Sabah in particular, could work with Kalimantan.