The Sabah Chief Minister said it was fine that they did not want him there at the last minute, adding that it was their right to decide on who they wished to invite to officiate the event.
“As I have said before, as a state government we focus on – and are all for – government-to-government cooperation.
“As a government, our main duty is to build a nation called Malaysia.
“We may be divided by the sea but let us not be divided by politics when it comes to children and education,” he told a press conference after a land title handover ceremony in Keningau, about 100km from here.
Underlining the importance of government-to-government collaborations, Shafie said, for example, if there were developments that the Federal Government was planning for Sabah which needed the use of land, it would still require state approval.
“Land is under state jurisdiction so if we can’t work together, then how are we supposed to develop the state?” he asked.
Despite having agreed to attend the Teachers Day event yesterday, Shafie was abruptly dropped as a guest of honour by the Sabah Education Department.
No reasons were given but the Chief Minister’s Office was informed of the change on Wednesday evening.
The department director Mistirine Radin, when asked about the matter, simply said: “No comment.”
The move came amid strained relations between the Perikatan Nasional Federal Government and the Opposition state government.
The event was officiated by Sabah Federal Secretary Datuk Samsuni Mohd Nor.
Meanwhile, Shafie remained noncommittal on the “Shafie for PM9” suggestion, noting that what needed to be discussed could be done in the upcoming Parliament meeting.
“There are several matters that need to be discussed and seen to, so we’ll discuss there and not here.”
He added that when his name was mentioned and then suggested by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the ninth prime minister, he believed those involved saw that as the solution to their impasse on the choice of candidate for the top job should Pakatan Harapan Plus come to power.
The Parti Warisan Sabah president, who is also Semporna MP, also felt that the suggestion could be a unifying factor for the country.
“Having my name mentioned as the ninth PM is an honour but based on the recent statements by Pakatan, it shows that they are indecisive so we have to see what is their decision.
“It does not necessarily have to be me as I have not decided as well.”
“But we have gained independence for almost 60 years now so why not?” Shafie asked.
On the persistent talk of political change and alleged switch of allegiances, Shafie said he was confident that his state assemblymen were strong-willed people.
“I’m sure my assemblymen are sincere in serving the people and will not jump as they are still here with me,” he said.
The Sabah coalition government comprises leaders from Warisan, Pakatan and Upko while Pakatan Plus is a loose grouping consisting of Pakatan Harapan (PKR, DAP and Amanah), Warisan and the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia faction led by its former chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
On Monday, the Pakatan presidential council announced that it was committed to its original plan for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the coalition’s candidate for prime minister.
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