Hajiji-Kitingan meeting stirs talks on former CM as potential TYT candidate

KOTA KINABALU: A meeting between Kadazandusun Huguan Siou (paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is stirring talks in social media about the appointment of a non-Muslim governor.

The meeting at Hajiji's office in Menara Kinabalu Monday (Oct 3) was posted on Hajiji's Facebook page, where he wished Kitingan good health.

The Chief Minister's Office did not send out any media statements on the apparently private meeting.

But the photo seems to have caught social media's attention especially after the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) last week suggested Kitingan to be Sabah's first non-Muslim governor.

Many have begun to speculate that Kitingan might be under consideration as a potential candidate for Yang di-Pertua Negeri whose incumbent Tun Juhar Mahiruddin's third term ends on Dec 31, 2022.

Commenting on Hajiji's post, Facebook user Lusimin Min Josbet said: "Our hope, we recommend Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as TYT Sabah from the KDMR (ethnic Kadzandusun, Murut and Rungus) community becomes a reality and not just a proposal."

"TYT in the making... Congratulations Huguan Siou," said another comment by Francis JR.

Another Facebook user, Harland Darau, said he supported Kitingan as a choice for TYT candidate, as it would be in line with the aspirations of Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Not all comments, however, reflected on the proposal for Kitingan's candidacy as TYT, as many just wished the two leaders.

Hajiji has yet to officially comment on the suggestion for Kitingan, 82, as a potential choice for Sabah TYT post that has traditionally been held by a native Muslim community member.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) parties, as well as Barisan Nasional have yet to comment on the proposal by KDCA but Opposition Upko and Sabah DAP supported the proposal.

According to legal circles, nothing in the Sabah Constitution states that the TYT should be a Muslim, as the head of state has no burden to be the head of Islam in the state.

The state Constitution specifies that the head of Islam in Sabah is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the legal circles said.

Kitingan served as former chief minister between 1985-1994 and was part of the state Barisan government between 2002 and 2018.

He retired after losing his Tambunan state seat to his brother Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the Sabah STAR president, who is now part of the GRS government.

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