KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has put in place his full 11-member state Cabinet, ending over a week’s speculation on “who’s in and who’s out”.
The state Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman appointed four ministers from Sabah Umno, three from Bersatu (including himself), and two each from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Sabah STAR.
For the first time, no Chinese member of the Cabinet or assistant minister was named, with none of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) candidates concerned winning in the Sept 26 state polls.
The new state Cabinet also has no female representative.
Five of the state ministers were sworn in by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin at Istana Negeri yesterday.
They were Bersatu’s Datuk Aripin Arif (Membakut), Umno’s Datuk Jafry Ariffin (Sukau), Shahelmy Yahya (Tanjung Keramat), Datuk Yakubah Khan (Karambunai) and Sabah STAR’s Datuk Ellron Angin.
Datuk Kadzim M. Yahya was sworn in as the new State Assembly Speaker. Also sworn in were 18 assistant ministers from Umno (six), Bersatu (five), PBS and Sabah STAR (three each), and an Independent.
The six nominated assemblymen are PAS state secretary Dr Aliakbar Gulasan, SAPP’s Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, Umno’s Suhaimi Nasir and Raimie Unggi, Bersatu’s Datuk Amisah Yassin and PKR’s Jaffari Walliam.
Hajiji did not witness the swearing-in as he is undergoing self-quarantine at home after being in close contact with several individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 during the election period.
Political analysts believe that the appointment of a PAS nominated assemblyman was part of a pre-election trade-off within Perikatan Nasional for the Islamist party not contesting the state polls.
They said pressure was expected to mount on PBS and Sabah STAR who are in the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition for allowing PAS to make inroads into the government without winning a seat.
The main concerns were the outcry over the Bible comments by a federal PAS leader in Parliament.
On the Cabinet, analysts said that Hajiji was working within his mandate to satisfy all parties within GRS.
GRS won 38 seats (Sabah Umno 14 seats, Bersatu 11, PBS 7 and Sabah STAR six) with three Independents joining them, handing them 41 seats in the 73-member state assembly.
Warisan Plus took 32 seats in the closely fought elections.
Hajiji was sworn in on Sept 28 together with Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin as Deputy Chief Minister I, and Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan and PBS vice-president Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam as Deputy Chief Minister II and III respectively.
The other state Cabinet ministers sworn in then were Sabah Bersatu deputy chairman Datuk Masidi Manjun as Local Government and Housing Minister-cum-Second Finance Minister and PBS secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim as Rural Development Minister.
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