Shafie: Sabah think-tank kerfuffle to be sorted out after Hari Raya

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Jun 2019

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. – Bernama

SEMPORNA: The state government will sort out the alleged power struggle between two top officials in Sabah's think-tank Institute for Deve­lopment Studies (IDS) after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said this when asked to comment on alleged infighting involving IDS chief executive officer Datuk Dr Johan Ariffin Samad and chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun.

"We will try our level best to sort it out. We will have to check it first.

"But this is a festive season and I still need to know the details (before commenting further)," he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house in Semporna on Wednesday (June 5).

Simmering tension between the two top officials is believed to have resulted in Johan's sacking from IDS.

However, Sipaun, whose relations with Johan is said to be testy, played matters down by saying that the IDS board had only decided not to confirm him as CEO at the end of his probation on May 31.

Sipaun, a former Sabah state secretary, said the board met on May 29 to decide on whe­ther to confirm Johan as CEO or terminate his contract.

"The vote was done via secret ballot and the decision was not to confirm him as CEO. He was not sacked," he said.

Sipaun said he was told that Johan had met Shafie on Monday to discuss the board's decision.

"The Chief Minister has not called me but I will explain the decision if he calls," he said.

After Parti Warisan Sabah took over the state government, Sipaun, a civil rights ­acti­vist, was appointed IDS chairman and Johan was subsequently hired to replace then-CEO Datuk Mohd Hasnol Ayub, who is the nephew of former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

According to IDS sources, the chairman and CEO had not been seeing eye-to-eye on ­va­rious issues and their relationship was even described as "hostile".

Meanwhile, a message spread on social media claimed that Shafie had asked Johan to stay on as the CEO.

Johan is believed to have told the Chief Minister that Sipaun had accused him of mismanagement via a letter dated March 18, which was copied to the board.

IDS' role is to analyse public policy propo­sals and provide research feedback to the state government.

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