After a confusing state of limbo, Sabah’s politics seem to be settling down.
Since May 9, Sabah has thrown itself into political limelight following interesting developments on the ground. From a hung parliament to two chief ministers and stories of frogs — politicians jumping to an opponent party — it’s been nothing short of happening here in our state.
Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman was initially sworn in as Chief Minister on 10 May after BN and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) aligned to form a simple majority with 31 out of 60 seats. However, that changed when six BN assemblyman defected to join the Pakatan Haparan-Warisan fold.
Parti Warisan Sabah leader Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal was then sworn in on 12 May. But the next day, Musa’s press secretary announced that Musa had not resigned from his post and was still the “rightful Chief Minister“. While this was happening, Shafie had clocked in to work as Chief Minister.
Sabahans were thus left in a state of confusion until a letter from Istana Negeri stated that Musa was no longer Chief Minister effective May 12. Yesterday, Shafie released his full list of state cabinet ministers.
In Shafie’s line-up, there’s mixed representation from the parties within the Warisan pact. Three deputy chief ministers will be holding dual portfolios.
Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal: Chief Minister; Finance Minister
Christina Liew: Deputy Chief Minister; Tourism, Cultural and Environment Minister
Jaujan Sambukong: Deputy Chief Minister; Local Government and Housing Minister
Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau: Deputy Chief Minister; Commerce and Industries Minister
Datuk Peter Anthony: Infrastructure Development Minister
Junz Wong: Agriculture and Food Industry Minister
Datuk Dr Yusuf Yaacob: Education and Innovation Minister
Poon Ming Fung: Youth and Sport Minister
Stephen Wong: Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister
Source: Borneo Post
Since its announcement, the state cabinet has been the subject of hearty discussions among locals. Shafie’s holding the finance portfolio garnered the ire of netizens, who raised concerns over conflict of interest. However, the chief minister dispelled the concerns and said there would be a new state body to vet and approve contracts and policies.
“I am just going to lead the economy as an economist. I want to make sure that the financial putting of the state is on the right track,” he stressed, according to a news report by The Borneo Post.
Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s had earlier announced he would separate the positions of Prime Minister and Finance Minister (Lim Guan Eng has been named Malaysia’s new Finance Minister, but will only be officially appointed after being cleared of graft). Mahathir also installed a Council of Eminent Persons to advise the federal government on economic and social issues.
As the political dust settles, the reality is that we are living history. Our Prime Minister is the oldest serving state leader in the world at 93 years old. For the first time since independence, Putrajaya is not hosting a BN-led federal government. Here in Sabah, Warisan has risen to the fore.
With roles reversed, the Pakatan Harapan-led government now has to prove itself worthy. BN must learn how to be a good opposition, acting as a check and balance mechanism for the ruling government.
It’s going to be an interesting time ahead.
Featured Image Credit: Malay Mail
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