KOTA KINABALU, March 5 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal reiterated the state government’s support for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but said that this will not hinder it from working with the federal government on administrative matters.
Breaking his silence following last week’s Pakatan Harapan government collapse, the Parti Warisan Sabah president said that the state government would work with Putrajaya in the interests of the people but that it would not be politically affiliated.
“Sabah’s stance is we will continue to support Tun Dr Mahathir. In the interests of the people here, we will also cooperate with the federal government,” he said when speaking to reporters after hosting a gathering with government-aligned elected representatives here today.
Shafie said Sabah is ready to cooperate with the federal government on a G2G basis and, in accordance with its manifesto, will continue to pursue promises made to the people of Sabah for development and the reinstatement of state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He added that he was confident this could all be achieved despite Sabah’s status as an Opposition state.
“We are still negotiating. There has been no finality so we can still claim for it,” he said on the subject of MA63.
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin is an old friend. We understand each other. He knows my stand, I told him that I support Tun Dr Mahathir,” he said.
“I’ve got nothing against him. He is my old friend, a nice friend. I hope he understands.”
Shafie said that he had gone to see Muhyiddin at the latter’s home one night, when it was believed that they were still with Dr Mahathir and on the same side.
“I wanted to tell him I was going to refer to the Warisan Supreme Council,” he said.
On rumours of possible defections from Warisan to Barisan Nasional in order to be aligned with the Perikatan Nasional federal government alliance, Shafie said he was certain that the state was intact despite the rumours.
“We are not going to force anyone to stay if they don’t want to.
“When I formed the government here, we did not buy over anyone. This political culture, Sabah can lead the way in showing what are the right values. In my Cabinet, I can’t control them or their mind. But I am confident that they have principles. They know the priority is for the well-being of the people.
“I feel strongly we will remain intact,” he said.
Warisan, along with DAP, Upko and PKR, holds 43 of the 60 seats in the state assembly. It also has 16 MPs. Only Bugaya state assemblyman, Manis Muka Darah from Warisan and two PKR MPs — Putatan MP Awang Husaini Sahari and Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin — were absent.
Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew said that Awang Husaini is still loyal to the Sabah pact but declined to comment on Yasin’s position.