KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) says he has no intention of taking up a deputy prime minister position as Pakatan Plus wrangles over who the next prime minister would be.
“I’m not running for any kind of posts (at the federal level). My mind is on administering Sabah and my focus is on its development, ” said the Sabah Chief Minister.
Shafie’s name had recently surfaced as a potential candidate for the deputy prime minister post in the event that Pakatan was able to topple the Perikatan Nasional government.
Pakatan Plus is a loose grouping comprising Pakatan Harapan (PKR, DAP and Amanah), Shafie’s Pakatan-friendly Parti Warisan Sabah and the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia faction led by its former chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking to reporters after launching the RM240mil second Sabah Covid-19 stimulus package, Shafie said it was time for Sabah and Sarawak to be given the senior post of deputy prime minister after 57 years in the federation.
The Warisan president said it was time for leaders of the two states to get a chance to be the prime minister or deputy prime minister.
“It does not have to be me. There are others too from Sarawak who are qualified. But that’s up to them. My focus is on running the state and uniting Sabahans, ” he added.
Warisan is not part of Pakatan but remains committed to the coalition that defeated Barisan Nasional during the 2018 general election.
Pakatan lost the Federal government earlier this year through defections to the newly-formed Perikatan.
Meanwhile, Shafie scoffed at the idea of dissolving the state assembly, making it clear that his coalition had a two-thirds majority to rule comfortably despite two of its assemblymen crossing over to the opposition.
“Why should I? No need to dissolve. We have 45 assemblymen (of the 65 in the House) and we will continue to work for the state, ” he said. He was addressing talk that the Warisan-led state government might be dissolved in the event of further defections.
“We have another 30 months to govern the state, ” he added.
On whether he would request his Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony, who is also Warisan vice-president, to go on leave pending the outcome of his court cases for money laundering and abetting in cheating, Shafie said there was no necessity for such action for now.
On another matter, Shafie said the IMM13 was issued specifically for the 1970s Filipino civil war refugees.
The document is recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and lumping other long-staying migrants holding different passes into the IMM13 status could have different implications, he said.
On Sunday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, during his visit to Sabah, said the government would only recognise IMM13 documents.
Plans by the previous Pakatan-led Federal government to issue the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) to replace all three cards currently held by 136,055 stateless people were scrapped.
Shafie said Hamzah’s predecessor, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, now the Prime Minister, had proposed the PSS and now the new minister was suggesting that IMM13 documents be recognised.
“There was so much opposition to the biometric PSS card that there were even demonstrations against it during the Kimanis by-election before the plan was dropped, ” he said.