PBS set for return to state Cabinet


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 25 Mar 2004

BY RUBEN SARIO AND CECIL FUNG

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is set to make a comeback to the state Cabinet after a 10-year absence but senior party officials are keeping mum as to what their expectations are. 

“We just have to wait and see like everyone else,” said PBS president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan whose party won the 1994 polls but lost its grip on the state government to Barisan Nasional barely a month later. 

The party returned to the Barisan fold two years ago and its deputy president Dr Maximus Ongkili was made the state government’s science and technology advisor soon after Datuk Musa Aman was appointed chief minister last March. 

State Barisan officials said they were anticipating that PBS would be given two Cabinet portfolios apart from one of the three deputy chief minister’s posts. 

Among the names of PBS leaders being considered for the new state line-up were Dr Maximus, another PBS deputy president Dr Yee Moh Chai and party secretary-general Datuk Radin Malleh. 

Stating that they were expecting Musa to formulate a “formidable Cabinet team,” Sabah Umno officials said they were looking at three new faces from their party in the new line-up. 

The names of former state assistant ministers Datuk Karim Bujang, Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor as well as Institute of Development Sabah chairman Datuk Masidi Manjun, all of Umno, were being mentioned for inclusion in the new state Cabinet. 

In the previous Cabinet, Umno was represented by Datuk Lajim Ukin who was also a deputy chief minister, Datuk Yahya Hussin, Datuk Rahim Ismail and Datuk Salleh Said. 

State Barisan officials said other names being considered for Musa’s line-up were Sabah Progressive Party deputy president Datuk Raymond Tan, who was a member in the previous Cabinet, and party vice-chief Melanie Chia while Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk Chong Kah Kiat was also set to make his return to the Cabinet. 

Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup was expected to make a return while the United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) would be represented at the Cabinet either by a former assistant minister Datuk Ewon Ebin or Philip Lasimbang 

In the last 11-member state line-up, Umno held six portfolios, SAPP two with LDP, PBRS and Upko holding one each while Umno held 12 of the 14 assistant minister posts with one each held by Upko and LDP.  

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