PUTRAJAYA, Oct 1 ― The new Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government could not have a Chinese minister as all candidates from the minority lost in the state election, Tan Sri Annuar Musa said today.
He asserted that this meant there were no Chinese assemblymen who could be made a state minister.
“I spoke to our partners, Bersatu, on the night when the state government was formed and we realised there was no Chinese elected representative on our side.
“Actually if you follow Sabah's tradition, from the three deputy chief minister posts, one will be from a Muslim Bumiputera background, another from a non-Muslim Bumiputera and the last a Chinese.
“But it’s difficult (to do so) because not a single Chinese elected representative we fielded won. The people had a choice and they made their decision so we have to respect it,” he told reporters during a press conference here.
Annuar also said coincidentally, most of the Chinese background elected representatives were from the Opposition bloc, further cementing the absence of Chinese elected representatives in the government's side.
However, according to Article 14 of the Sabah state constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negri may appoint up to six nominated members to the legislative assembly on the recommendation of the state government.
Earlier, Annuar also commented on Sabah's unique system of nominated assemblymen, and said he expected political ally PAS to receive one of six openings for nominated assemblymen in Sabah, further suggesting that his own party Umno could get two.
PAS did not contest any seat in the Sabah election.
Annuar also said the remaining three could go to Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) allies Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).
The United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Committees, Sabah (Sabah Dong Zong) previously called for the appointment of Chinese ministers in the newly-formed state Cabinet.
Its chairman Datuk Jimmy Yong Kyok Ming said the Chinese community would not have any channel to convey issues faced by Chinese schools and the community to the state government if the state Cabinet has no Chinese representative.
Although none of the candidates fielded by the Chinese parties in GRS was elected in the Sabah polls, he said the chief minister has the prerogative to appoint six nominated assemblymen.