SEMPORNA, Feb 7 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today reminded all quarters not to play the race card, saying it could be the basis for disunity in the state.
He made the call after commenting on what he said were attempts to use racial sentiments following dissatisfaction over the appointment of native chiefs.
He explained that the appointment of individuals to positions, for example native chiefs, was done based on educational qualifications, a clean record of service and the involvement of the local population.
“For example, the appointment of the Tawau native chief is appropriate for he has lived in Tawau for more than 40 years. With the appointment of someone, we want to unite the people and not see the individual as not being a native,” he told reporters here.
Mohd Shafie said the method of appointment of individuals as native chiefs was fair and the priority was the suitability of the candidate and whether he could assist the local people.
“We feel that if we appoint a Chinese in a Chinese area, it will facilitate understanding. Don’t tell me we should appoint a Bajau to head the Dusun community in the Keningau area; surely, we have to appoint a Dusun.
“This is one of our approaches but it does not mean that other races have no quota; that’s why we look at the qualification in the case of some places,” he said.
He said that for example, the Balung assemblyman hailed from Kalabakan but was an elected representative in the Tawau area because of his capabilities. — Bernama