KOTA KINABALU: Warisan president Mohd Shafie Apdal said only RM5 billion was allocated to the rural and regional development ministry when he was the minister under BN.
He said the amount was too small to oversee the development of rural areas for the whole country.
“There are Umno leaders who said I have failed to develop Sabah’s rural areas when I was the minister. But the RM5 billion allocated to my ministry then was not only for Semporna and other rural areas in Sabah. But it was also for the rural areas in Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan, and others.
“The allocation of RM27 billion for the construction of a monorail in Peninsular Malaysia was larger than the RM5 billion that I had,” he said here today.
However, Shafie said it did not mean that he had failed as BN minister. Instead, people should look at how the rural areas were developed with such a small allocation.
“We had our budget limitations but it does not mean that I have not carried out my duty as a minister responsibly,” he said.
Last night, Umno deputy president Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Shafie only had himself to blame for failing to develop the rural areas like Kimanis as he had served as the minister in charge of rural development for seven years.
Ismail said Shafie was made the rural and regional development minister by the then prime minister Najib Razak to ensure the rural areas in Sabah were developed.
On another matter, Shafie hit back at Umno and Barisan Nasional for questioning the Warisan and Pakatan Harapan ties.
He said the BN leaders had misconstrued the pact Warisan had with PH, saying the cooperation between the two was to ensure BN ceased to exist in Sabah.
Shafie said he was not in the PH presidential council but maintained an alliance with the coalition.
“We cooperated even before the 14th general election and we worked with them and Dr Mahathir (Mohamad). If there had been no cooperation, we would not have been able to defeat BN in the polls.
“Now, the cooperation continues to exist and every development plan pushed forward by Putrajaya must come with the views and suggestions of the Warisan-led state government.
“This is the way to move forward, where we seek each other’s views before coming out with a plan.”
Shafie also said that the “Sabah for Sabahans” slogan did not mean that Warisan was promoting a sense of regionalism. Instead, all government efforts must comprise ideas from the state and federal.