Shafie’s absence sparks talk of ‘political interference’

The Sabah Chief Minister was originally supposed to open Sabah Teachers’ Day programme.

KOTA KINABALU: A Teachers’ Day event scheduled here tomorrow morning with Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal as the main VIP will now have to do without him.

Journalists here had already been informed that Shafie would be attending the event tomorrow around 8.30am at the Tabung Haji Hotel, Sembulan, here.

But a late afternoon update today from the chief minister’s office and the state Education Department indicated Shafie will not be attending.

Sabah federal secretary Samsuni Mohd Noor will now replace Shafie at the event.

A local news portal here claimed federal “political interference” behind the dropping of Shafie’s name as the guest of honour.

The state Education Department, being a federal agency under the federal education ministry, is under the control of the Perikatan Nasional federal government.

The Warisan-led Sabah government’s political stance has been friendly to the Pakatan Harapan, the opposition at the federal level.

Sabah education director Mistrine Radin, when contacted over the report, had nothing to comment over the matter.

In March, Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin had demanded that federal agencies stop inviting state officials to federal functions due to the political differences.

“As such, inviting state officials to federal government programmes should not happen,” said Bung, adding that such action is seen as sabotage of the PN federal government.

“They must remember that state ministers or assemblymen from Warisan, Upko or Pakatan are in the opposition at the federal level, ” he said.

Bung’s statement came after a school programme was launched by Sabah Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang in Beaufort on March 13.

Previously, the Warisan-led Sabah government had also expressed its unhappiness over the revival of the Federal Development Agency, a unit established to supervise, monitor and coordinate the distribution of federal development allocations at the state level.

The agency was established in the early 1990s during the era of the PBS government.

Sabah PPBM chief Hajiji Noor had called for the revival of the Federal Development Agency in March this year.

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