KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — The office of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today said that an unnamed blogger is trying to pit Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) against the police’s Special Branch department after spreading rumours that the state government had barred the men in blue from attending public events.
In a statement today, Shafie’s office said the Sabah government has never issued any directive barring Special Branch officers from attending public events involving the chief minister.
“Questions have arisen as to whether a coordinated attempt is being made by certain bloggers and media to destabilise the Parti Warisan Sabah-led government.
“Such suspicions have gained traction in recent days after a blogger attempted to pit the state government against the police force, setting off a chain reaction in the media that has since drawn misleading statements from politicians.
“The government has at no point barred Special Branch officers from attending the chief minister’s public events and press conferences at such public venues,” the office said
Shafie’s office added that there is no such policy or instruction from the chief minister.
“It is therefore quite clear that the blogger conjured up this so-called ban to provoke or create bad blood between the government and the police,” it further said.
Shafie’s office said the matter was first raised by a news portal based on “hearsay spread by the blogger, known to have a personal agenda and motives.”
The blogger and the news portal were not named in the statement.
Warisan vice-president Datuk Junz Wong on May 11 reportedly told online news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that Special Branch personnel should identify themselves at the party’s press conferences.
“If they want to request for it (entry to the events), they should identify themselves and not pretend to be reporters,” Wong reportedly said.
A Special Branch officer was quoted in the FMT article as saying that he and his colleagues had been barred numerous times from Warisan press conferences, including events attended by Shafie.
The following day, Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said that Special Branch officers are meant to safeguard the security, regardless of political affiliations after some of them were recently barred from Warisan press conferences in Sabah.
He said the police officers, who were there on duty, are not enemies of any party.
Abdul Hamid, who previously held the position of Special Branch director, said officers from the department should be seen and treated as friends of the public unless they break the law.
He said there could have been a miscommunication between the Special Branch and event organisers.