PAS rep being nominated assemblyman a non-issue, he is not in cabinet, says DCM Kitingan

KOTA KINABALU: Having a PAS representative as a nominated assemblyman is not an issue as he is not in the state cabinet, says Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic).

The state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said this in dismissing Sabah DAP’s claim that PBS and Sabah STAR, which he helmed, have failed to stop the inclusion of PAS representative into the state assembly.

DAP’s Kapayan assemblyman Jannie Lasimbang, responding to Sabah PAS secretary Dr Aliakbar Gulasan being named as one of the six nominated assemblymen allowed under the state constitution, in a statement claimed that the presidents of both local parties had denied this would happen.

She further challenged them “to do the right thing” and pull out from the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government.

“If you see the past news and video reports, I was commenting on the Minister’s (Law and Native Affairs) post, which I said it was not true that a PAS representative will hold the position, ” said Jeffrey.

“I did not talk about nominated assemblyman, that is another matter. I was more concerned about somebody from PAS holding a cabinet post.

“To me, it is a non-issue as the nominated assemblyman is a small role, ” added the Sabah STAR president when contacted.

He said the basis of GRS appointing Aliakbar is probably to have somebody from PAS to reflect being a part of Perikatan Nasional.

Jeffrey also said that things must be looked at from other angles and not from a “narrow perspective”.

“Sometimes, people only see their side and fail to see other views, ” he added.

On the state Law and Native Affairs portfolio, Jeffrey said the ministry is being abolished and the law part is being replaced by the Special Tasks Ministry, which will include looking into religious matters.

“As for native affairs, it will not be a cabinet position, so it is not necessarily an appointed assemblyman ... It might be headed by someone from the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association, ” he said.

Previously, there was an outcry from NGOs, opposition leaders and members of the public on the possibility of PAS making its way to the cabinet via the nominated assemblyman post, as the party is seen here as being intolerant of other religions.

PBS president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili and other party leaders declined to make immediate comments on PAS' inclusion in the state assembly, while Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor is currently on self-quarantine and will not be making any statements.

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