Better if Sabah is aligned with federal govt, says Muhyiddin

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (centre) arrives to address federal civil servants at the Sabah International Convention Centre in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed his disappointment that the Sabah government is not aligned with his federal administration.

Addressing federal civil servants here today, Muhyiddin said he was satisfied with how the service has performed so far, but he only had one issue with it.

“There’s only a bit that I’m disappointed in … that Sabah is not aligned with us,” he said at the Sabah International Convention Centre here.

“Imagine if the Sabah and federal governments are together as one, can you imagine? This is not politics, it’s reality … this is a bit of campaigning (for the coming state election),” he said, to laughter from the floor.

“He (caretaker chief minister Shafie Apdal) has been my friend for a long time, and he came back to run the state.

“But I would feel, and I have experienced, that having people on the same platform and working as one would have more impact.

“That is what I wish for, for Sabah.”

Muhyiddin called on the federal civil servants to think outside of the box to improve their services to the people, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic

He said although public servants were bound by the financial and administrative circulars and instructions from their heads of departments, this should not be an excuse not to improve their services “especially in these unprecedented times”.

“This is when you need creativity, courage and urgency,” he said.

He paid tribute to frontliners, including many from the civil service, for their sacrifices during the movement control order period.

At the same time, he said, the government was taking mitigation efforts to cushion the impact of the pandemic through the various economic stimulus packages.

“Don’t ask me where we got the money. The last time, they said there was no money (so) this must involve the wisdom of the PM,” he said.

Muhyiddin also praised the people for adhering to guidelines and SOPs implemented by the government.

He said the pandemic had taught the nation many things in terms of preparing for the worst, including in education.

He said Malaysia should have undergone a digitalisation process way before this and, as a consequence, had suffered from the effects of Covid-19.

If the country had rolled out the plan earlier, he said, all students would have been able to study online instead of being left behind because of the school closures.

“It is our fault. Of course, there were financial hurdles, but it is a lesson learnt … what Covid-19 had taught us. But soon, we will launch this digitalisation programme,” he said.

No compromise on any claim to Sabah

On the move by the Philippines to include the Sabah map in its international passport, Muhyiddin said Malaysia will unequivocally defend Sabah from claims that question its sovereignty.

“I must state that we will not concede to such claims. Sabah remains in Malaysia, it is an integral part of Malaysia.

“We will fight to the end, no compromise,” he said, to applause from the crowd.