KOTA KINABALU, March 16 — Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has not given up hope of being the first Malaysian prime minister from the Borneo states.
The Parti Warisan Sabah president said he was not adverse to the position and he had the necessary experience and good intentions to take on the premier post.
“Given the chance, if the people of the country want it... I am up for it,” he said.
Shafie said that he would be happy to be able to unite the differences between east and west Malaysia, who he said were divided not just by the South China Sea but also culturally, by race and religion among other things.
Shafie, who was answering questions during a Facebook Live session last night, said that he had a unique perspective, having served in the federal government for many years, in different capacities and in various ministries that has included the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry, Housing and Local Government, Rural and Regional Development, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Defence Ministry among others.
“I’ve seen what the country really needs and I’ve gone through the process from the beginning. I’ve served in many capacities. So if the opportunity came up, why not.
“In the more than 60 years that Malaysia has existed, maybe it is time for a voice from this side — it doesn’t have to be me,” he said.
Shafie said that when his allies in DAP and Amanah had supported him as a potential candidate when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed him before, he was more focused on administering Sabah, being the chief minister then.
“Now, there's a lot of challenges — debt up to the trillions and 300,000 people unemployed, it's a big challenge, and as a politician with good intentions, if we are able to unite the people, why not?
“The [future prime minister] need not even be from Sabah, but Sarawak. Perhaps it is time to show we are part and parcel of Malaysia. We’d love to serve the nation and give perspective from this part of the country,” he said.
The Semporna MP said that he was worried about the current political scenario which was seeing too much movement during a precarious time, and that it was not conducive to building a nation.
He said that previously, politicians would hold steadfast to noble principles of national building and build a foundation of multi cultural ideologies and understanding.