Shafie: No conflict of interest in being Sabah CM and Finance man

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) who has kept the Finance portfolio for himself has assured Sabahans that there will be no conflict of interest.

“I’m just managing the economy as an economist, and I want to make sure the state finances is on the right track,” he said after the swearing in of his 11 member cabinet at Istana Negeri here Wednesday (May 15).

Shafie, whose predecessor Tan Sri Musa Aman had also held the posts of both Chief Minister and Finance Minister that had often raised concerns about conflicts of interest, said, “Don’t say that there’s a similar conflict of interest as the “previous guys”.

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.

Shafie also expressed his hope that the people of Sabah will not think that there is a conflict of interest in his move.

“It doesn't mean that if I’m holding the Finance ministry there will be a lot of abuse,” said the Parti Warisan Sabah president, whose cabinet lineup include representatives from his party partners DAP, PKR and Upko.

Shafie also said that Warisan had forwarded the names of six of its MPs for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to consider for Federal Cabinet posts.

They include Penampang MP Darell Leiking, Batu Sapi MP Datuk V.K. Liew, Silam MP Mohammad Ketapi, Kalabakan MP Ma’mun Sulaiman and Papar MP Ahmad Hassan.

“I believe that they can contribute in leading the nation as they are experts in various fields.

“Dr Mahathir is a wise man and he will be able to decide well on the posts,” he said.

Shafie is also looking into appointing a “Council of Elders” akin to the Team of Eminent Persons set up by the federal government tasked with advising the government on economic and financial matters.

“They will comprise of former senior civil servants as well as known businessmen. They will help us boost the economy,” he said.

Earlier, Shafie’s 11 member cabinet was officially sworn in by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, with three new ministries being introduced.

The creation of the new Health and People's Wellbeing; Education and Innovation; as well as Laws and Native Affairs ministries were a part of Shafie's election campaign pledge to improve education, health and wellbeing of natives who were affected by various land and religious issues.

Meanwhile, Sabah’s three Deputy Chief Ministers comprise of Upko acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, Sabah PKR chairman Christina Liew and Warisan vice president Datuk Jaujan Sambakong as representatives of the non-Muslim bumiputera, the Chinese and the Muslim bumiputera respectively.

A total of 18 assistant ministers were also sworn in.

Shafie was sworn in as Chief Minister on Saturday (May 12) after his party and partners PKR, DAP and Upko gained a 38 seat majority forcing the revocation of Musa who lost his 31 seat simple majority a day after being sworn in as Chief Minister on May 10.