Jeffrey rejects PAS rep’s appointment

KOTA KINABALU: Hours after describing the decision to appoint a nominated assemblyman from PAS as a “non-issue”, Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) changed his tune over the appointment.

The Deputy Chief Minister and Sabah STAR president said any party not compatible with Sabah’s multicultural ways should be rejected.

This was hardly two hours after he downplayed the appointment of Sabah PAS secretary Dr Aliakbar Gulasan as one of the six nominated Sabah assemblymen.

He told The Star earlier yesterday that Aliakbar’s appointment was a non-issue since it did not involve a state Cabinet post.

“To me, a nominated assemblyman plays a small role, ” he said.

In a statement issued later, Jeffrey congratulated the new state Cabinet line-up which he said would bring prosperity to Sabah but said Aliakbar’s appointment opened the state government to criticism.

“PAS leaders have time and again issued statements that upset the feelings and sentiments of multicultural and multireligious Sabah.

“This statement, however, should not be construed as an attack on Aliakbar’s personality. I am aware of his (Aliakbar) public disapproval of a PAS leader who made an erroneous and sensitive comment about the Bible in Parliament.

“The comment deeply offended Christians in Sabah and Sarawak and Aliakbar, as a Sabahan, is in touch with the reality in Sabah, ” said Jeffrey, reiterating that the issue was with the Islamist party and not Aliakbar.

Jeffrey said ultimately, the appointment of nominated assemblymen was the prerogative of the Chief Minister.

“Aliakbar is a nominated assemblyman with no ministerial duty. He has not been appointed to the state Law and Native Affairs Ministry as speculated by DAP and Warisan, ” he added.

DAP had claimed that PBS and STAR Sabah failed to stop the inclusion of a PAS representative into the state assembly.

DAP’s Kapayan assemblyman Jannie Lasimbang claimed that both party heads had earlier pledged that this would not happen.

She challenged both parties “to do the right thing” and pull out from the GRS government.

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

Meanwhile, Aliakbar described his appointment as a historic moment for the party which did not have the opportunity of contesting in the recent 16th state election.

In a statement, he thanked the state government for his inclusion in the state assembly, saying it was a first for PAS.

He also dismissed the negative perception of his appointment.

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