Upko defector one of nine ministers in new Sabah cabinet

KOTA KINABALU: Upko's Kadamaian assemblyman Ewon Benedict is now one of the nine ministers appointed under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal's cabinet.

Benedict - who claimed to have been held under duress at Sri Gaya after GE14 last week - was sworn in together with Upko acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, Sabah PKR chairman Christina Liew and Warisan vice president Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.

Jaujan, Madius and Liew were appointed as Deputy Chief Ministers for the Muslim Bumiputera, non-Muslim Bumiputera and Chinese.

The Sabah state cabinet lineup sworn in at the Istana Negeri by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin also included three new portfolios with three new ministers.

These ministers are Sabah DAP chairman Stephen Wong, Warisan vice president Junz Wong and Sindumin assemblyman Datuk Dr Yusuf Yaacob.

Stephen Wong will head the Health and People's Wellbeing Ministry while Junz Wong who will head the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry and Dr Yusuf will head the state's new Education and Innovation Ministry.

Other new ministers are Warisan's Pantai Manis assemblyman Datuk Aidi Mokhtar, who is now the state's Laws and Native Affairs minister and DAP's Tanjung Papat assemblyman Poon Ming Fung, who is the state's Youth and Sports Minister.

Deputy Chief Ministers Madius will be heading the Trade and Industry Ministry, Liew will be the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, and Jaujan will be the state Local Government and Housing Minister.

Meanwhile, Shafie is keeping the Finance ministry portfolio.

Madius - who is also the Tuaran MP - and Sandakan MP Stephen Wong were also nominated into the state assembly under the Sabah Constitution which allows for a maximum of six nominated assemblymen to be appointed.

A total of 18 assistant ministers were also sworn in by Juhar this afternoon (May 16).

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.