KOTA KINABALU, July 9 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal today urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government not to let their political differences influence nation building policies.
Shafie was supposed to attend a Teachers’ Day event in the state as its guest-of-honour, but the invitation was later rescinded by the state Education Department.
“We are supposed to be government-to-government. Some things the state has to work together with the federal government. But of course this is their right to invite me or not. But as the state government, we have to help our students, it’s not whether they are ministers or not,” he said when speaking to reporters after a handing out ceremony for land grants in the district of Keningau.
“It’s not a big thing. But let’s not dwell on this, this is about nation building. Let’s not be split by politics for the sake of our children. Let’s put aside politics. The Ministry of Education needs land, and the land belongs to the state. The police and army, hospitals all need land. How do we give it to them if they have no cooperation with the state?” Shafie asked.
Sabah Education director Mistirine Radin issued the invitation to the Sabah Chief Minister's Office on July 7, but withdrew it the next day.
Shafie said that he was told the evening before the event that he could not attend the event.
The guest-of-honour was Sabah federal secretary Samsuni Mohd Noor.
Mistrine has since declined to comment.
Shafie urged the federal government against pressuring the Warisan-led state government, now that the party is part of the federal Opposition bloc.
“Just because our people don’t want to jump ship, don’t pressure us here and there. This is a democratic system. I didn’t stop people from jumping, but I said we will work together with the federal government to develop the state,” he said.
Shafie said that it has been months since rumours of the state government falling started, but stressed that Warisan is still intact.
“It has been months and no mass jumping. I think our elected representatives just want to serve, don’t pressure them if they don’t want to jump. We have a democratic process and I never bought anyone over,” he said.
To date, only two Upko assemblymen have left the Warisan-led government.