Sabahans jubilant over state representation in Cabinet

KOTA KINABALU: A sense of jubilation is prevailing in the state with six Sabahans Ministers, the highest ever named, in the Federal Cabinet.

More significantly, some were appointed to portfolios that could be considered "strategic" for the state.

This include ministries overseeing water and energy, housing and local government as well as rural development.

Former Chief Minister Datuk Salleh Tun Said said these portfolios are close to the hearts of many Sabahans such as the need for more rural development, infrastructure and housing. "The expectation among many Sabahans now is that these Ministers implement whatever projects that have been earmarked for the state," he said.

He said Sabahans were also expecting the state's view on various issues to be heard in the Cabinet.

Salleh, the Sabah Umno deputy chief, said the record number of Ministers from Sabah was definitely a reward for the state's solid support for Barisan Nasional in the polls.

He said with a larger number in Cabinet, Sabah ministers should now push for decentralisation whereby funds for federal projects are channeled to the state government to ensure effective and smooth implementation.

"The various ministries could work closely with the state by channeling the funds and their task would then be to monitor these projects," Salleh said.

He said it was crucial for the newly-appointed Sabahan Cabinet members to justify their appointments by doing their jobs properly.

Federation of Sabah Manufacturers president Datuk Wong Ken Thausaid the appointments augured well for the development of East Malaysia.

"These appointments should pave the way for both Sabah and Sarawak to catch up with the Peninsula in terms of development over the next five years," said Wong.

He said if both states could not achieve significant progress with such a significant representation in the cabinet during that period, "then we only have ourselves to blame".

Najib re-appointed Datuk Anifah Aman and Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal as the Foreign and Rural Development Ministries respectively.

Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili was moved to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry while Tan Sri Joseph Kurup was promoted to a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Najib also brought in Datuk Rahman Dahlan as Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister and Datuk Ewon Ebin as Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.