KOTA KINABALU, June 11 — Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has defended his move of meeting Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, explaining that the latter was merely asking him for his opinion as an old friend.
Accused of enticing Mohammadin to leave Parti Warisan Sabah and back Perikatan Nastional, Anifah said he was just giving his opinion that working with the federal government of the day is the only way to work on getting back state rights.
“He is an old friend who also studied in England before, and he asked me for my opinion on Sabah’s situation. I said that Sabah and Sarawak combined only had 56 seats so for the time being we should work with the federal government to get back Sabah rights.
“I would say the same thing to any friend who asked,” said Anifah in a statement here.
He also said that as the chief minister, Shafie should surround himself with people who are loyal, honest and trustworthy.
“Not those who can be bought and sold,” he said.
Earlier, Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal named former foreign minister Anifah of contacting Mohammadin three times, allegedly to try to entice the Lahad Datu MP to join the PN federal government.
Shafie said that the PN was embarking on a “grand plan” to topple the state government and would be trying to sway elected representatives over to their side by use of enticement with positions and money, as well as intimidation tactics.
Anifah in his statement issued by a spokesman, sarcastically thanked Shafie for “remembering to mention a pensioner” with no official posts at federal or state level.
He, however, stopped short of denying the allegations.
“Actually, I have many friends who are always contacting me to discuss and ask for my opinion on the latest political developments. Even though I have no party, maybe it’s because I’m experienced and so my opinion is in demand.
“Even though I have no positions, my name is still being mentioned. Maybe this is because I have contributed a lot to the state so it’s hard for him to forget my name,” he said.
Anifah said he was still focused on the struggle to reinstate Sabah rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“As much as I am flattered by the Sabah chief minister’s mention of me, he should be more focused on finding a solution for the state’s problems like revitalising the economy and the best way to protect Sabah’s interests in the fight for state rights,” he said.
Sabah has been fending off rumours of a toppling after the Perikatan Nasional took over the federal government, and in a show of solidarity today, Shafie held a luncheon where almost all of its 47 state assemblymen and 15 MPs showed up.