KOTA KINABALU, May 18 – Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal does not intend to hold on to the state finance portfolio any longer than is necessary, a source who works with the Sabah chief minister said amid intense public scrutiny.
The source said that Shafie has a “Herculean” task in “cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous government” including “lop-sided deals and financial mismanagement.”
“Shafie will use his experience as an economist to put the economy back on track. Please allow him the space to do this job.
“We’ve discussed this earlier. Once he has tackled issues that are critical to Sabah and resolve them, he will hand over the portfolio to another Minister, not a day longer than necessary,” said the source who asked not to be named.
There have been increasing criticism aimed at Shafie for holding on to the Finance portfolio in addition to the chief minister position.
On Change.org, an online petition has started, garnering some 3,600 signature as of 2.20pm today.
The petition wants to compel Shafie to appoint someone else as the state finance minister.
His predecessor Musa Aman had also held the posts of both Chief Minister and Finance Minister which had often raised concerns about conflicts of interest.
Last Wednesday, when asked about his holding of two portfolios, Shafie said he was to use his experience as an economist and wanted to make sure the state finances went back on the right track.
Shafie said his role as finance minister is to ensure that there will be no interests of power, to ensure revenue increase for Sabah, attract investors and provide more job opportunities especially for the youth.