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Friday April 10, 2009

Sabah jubilant over high representation

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is jubilant over the high representation of its MPs in the new Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The appointment of four Sabah leaders as ministers and five as deputy ministers has been accepted as a good reflection of federal recognition of Sabah’s contributions to the Barisan Nasional.

After being unhappy over the lack of representation in the Cabinet of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last year, state leaders yesterday welcomed the portfolios given to representatives from the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman described the appointment of Sabah leaders in the Cabinet as the highest recognition to the state.

”It is a recognition of the capability of state leaders in serving at the national level,” he said in a statement.

Other state Barisan leaders were also happy with the positions given to Sabah leaders which they said reflected confidence in their ability.

The appointment of Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as Rural Development Minister and Parti Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok as Agriculture Develop-ment and Commodities Minister was seen as relevant to the needs of Sabah and Sarawak.

The appointment of Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman as Foreign Minister was acknowledged as an important milestone for the state as he is the first leader from East Malaysia to hold the portfolio.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin said: “It has been our dream for such a representation in the Federal Government. It augurs well for state-federal relations. I am sure the people will continue to support the Barisan.”

Dompok said the Cabinet line-up was definitely “fair to Sabah” and believed that it would strengthen the resolve to achieve the 1Malaysia aspiration.

The other Sabahan retained was PBS deputy president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili as Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.

The five deputy ministers are Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah deputy president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Natural Resources and Environment), Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk V.K. Liew (Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department), Beaufort MP Datuk Lajim Ukin (Housing and Local Government), Kudat MP Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri (Transport) and Puteri Umno chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin (Health).

Liew said the state got what it has been seeking for and now it was time for the new team to sit down and help govern the nation.

“This is an acid test for Barisan to move forward in achieving 1Malaysia,” said Liew, who was previously Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister.

In Kuching, Sarawak leaders also welcomed the prominence given to Sabah leaders. Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the appointment of Shafie as the Rural and Regional Development Minister was apt.

“Sabah and Sarawak need a lot of development in the rural areas. This is a very important ministry,” he added.

Also pleased with the appointments was Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Dr James Masing.


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