Why did Kitingan suddenly support Musa after GE14 results, asks Shafie

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (second from left) launching the SabahTrace app in Kota Kinabalu today to make it easier to do contact tracing in case  someone tests positive for Covid-19.

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has hit back at Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan for saying anti-graft authorities should probe him for the Sabah CM fiasco.

He said the graft-busters should also investigate Kitingan.

Shafie indicated that Kitingan had been a staunch critic of Musa Aman’s previous administration while in the opposition, but suddenly changed his stance in the aftermath of the 2018 general election.

The Warisan president also dismissed insinuations by Kitingan that he had promised Upko leaders financial gains and positions so that they would leave the Barisan Nasional and support him instead to form the state government following GE14.

“He was in the opposition before and now he has joined hands with Musa … how is that?

“He (Kitingan) has said they should investigate me. Probe him first on why he suddenly decided to support Musa.

“Ask (Upko president) Wilfred Madius Tangau why he supported me. I did not promise any money or positions.

“So, don’t simply accuse me. We are not into that type of culture.

“For us, people want to join us because they believe they can support to build Sabah and unite Sabahans,” he told reporters here today after launching the SabahTrace app.

This is a digital check-in system that logs the names and mobile numbers of individuals as well as premises to facilitate contact tracing efforts in case someone is found positive for Covid-19.

Kitingan had previously told Pakatan Harapan leaders not to practise double standards in calling for an investigation into federal ruling party PPBM, saying they should also call for a probe into circumstances that led to Shafie being made chief minister in 2018.

DAP has also called for an investigation into an alleged offer of positions in the Cabinet and government-linked companies by PPBM to Umno leaders just before Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister and chairman of the party in February.

Kitingan said if the PH leaders were serious about investigating wrongdoings, then they should also call for a probe into the “chief minister fiasco” after the last general election.

He said Sabah deputy chief minister Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is the Upko president, “took five assemblymen and switched allegiance from BN to Warisan”.

“Tangau would not have been entitled to be a state minister, let alone deputy chief minister, if not for his appointment as a nominated rep,” he said, adding the MACC should look into this.

Warisan-PH and BN were tied at 29 seats following the GE14, with Kitingan’s STAR holding the remaining two in the 60-seat state assembly.

Kitingan, the Tambunan assemblyman, and Bingkor rep Robert Tawik then threw their support behind BN, allowing Musa to be sworn in as chief minister on May 10.

Warisan’s Merotai rep Sarifuddin Hata had yesterday claimed Kitingan had sent a representative to meet Shafie at his house to express his agreement to form the state government but had suddenly switched his support to Musa.

Shafie was sworn in as the second CM barely two days later after the defections of Umno and Upko assemblymen.

Shafie today said Tangau and Upko founder Bernard Dompok came to see him, adding they had expressed their desire to support Warisan instead of a peninsula-based party.

“I didn’t give even one ringgit to Tangau and did not promise him any minister’s post. The reason why Tangau and Dompok communicated with me is because they said they just want to throw out federal-registered parties (BN).”

From the three Upko elected reps who had first defected from BN, namely Tangau, Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian) and Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan), only Tangau and Benedick were appointed as ministers.

“But they didn’t know I would appoint them.

“How many former Umno reps (who joined Warisan) became heads of government agencies? Only Abdul Muis Picho (Sebatik) and that was as an assistant minister.

“I don’t want to accuse people but don’t blame me for doing something I didn’t do. I am doing my level best to run the state to help the people in Sabah, nothing more than that.”

Meanwhile, the Semporna MP also announced that Warisan MPs Darell Leiking (Penampang) and Azis Jamman (Sepanggar) had been appointed as heads of government-linked companies.

Leiking was appointed as the chairman of the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (Sogip) and Azis as head of the state investment arm, Warisan Harta. Both were part of the previous PH federal Cabinet.

This is clearly against the pledge he had made during the party’s election manifesto but Shafie defended these appointments, saying “it is for the benefit of the people”.

“I know (about the pledge) but I also know about the advantage of putting these guys — what’s important are the interests of the people.

“For instance, I know Leiking’s capacity and ability as a former international trade and industry minister while Azis also has a lot of experience.

“But not all GLCs in the state are headed by elected reps. More than 95% are led by civil servants, professionals and bankers, among others.”

Shafie had said previously that elected representatives would not become the chairmen of statutory bodies or GLCs as they need to focus on their service to the people.

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