KOTA KINABALU, June 29 — Flattered and honoured by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s proposal for him to become the next prime minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said today he needs some time to consider and think it through before deciding on his next step.
Shafie said among the considerations he has to take into account include his Parti Warisan Sabah’s take on the move, the current political and socio economic scenario in Sabah, as well as the aspirations of Sabahans.
“I’m so grateful. It’s coming from Tun Dr Mahathir, a man of great standing to propose me as the PM candidate.
“It’s a great challenge and I will have to look into it seriously. Give me some time, it won’t be too long, but there is a lot to consider,” he said.
Shafie estimated that he would need less than a month, to come up with an answer but said that he trusted that Dr Mahathir meant well in proposing his name and had considered the current political scenario when deciding.
When asked whether he could trust the former prime minister, who had reneged on his promise to keep Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia out of Sabah, among other things, Shafie said that Dr Mahathir had also been generous to Sabah and Parti Warisan Sabah and gave them their dues.
“In the MA63 claim, he had given us 17 out of over 20 things we asked for already. We cannot get everything, but that was positive development. He also gave us three ministerial posts without question, even though we were only allies and not quite in Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
“But either way, we will discuss it. I will bring it up with my deputy and the party. I am the type who will want to consult my colleagues. Not that I am not decisive but we cannot work in silos,” he said.
Shafie acknowledged that it would be the first time a Sabahan was even proposed to be the country’s prime minister and that it would meet the aspirations of many Sabahans.
“This is our country too; it doesn’t just belong to the Peninsula, but Sabah too.
“I will have to consider a lot of things. It has been the dream of our forefathers, Tun Mustapha, Tun Fuad Stephens and Stephen Kalong Ningkan,” he said.
Shafie said that he was qualified for the post with over 33 years of experience in seven different ministries at the federal level.
“I’ve been serving the country more than 30 years, people can evaluate how bad or how good.
“But I also have to think about what’s next in Sabah. Can’t just say goodbye to Sabah because of this opportunity. I’m not like that. It’s not inducement, it’s not for personal glory or ambition, but nation building,” he said.
Last Saturday, Dr Mahathir, who is locked in a stalemate with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the prime minister’s post, said he now supports Shafie as the next prime minister for the PH Plus coalition and is withdrawing from the race.
He said the decision to name Shafie was a collective decision during an informal meeting at the Ruman Tetamu Sabah here two days ago with leaders from DAP, Amanah, and Parti Warisan Sabah.