Thursday, 27 March 2008

Ghapur explains...

Reproduced below is NST reports on Datuk Ghapur Salleh.

Ghapur won't desert Umno after quitting deputy minister's post
By Roy Goh

KOTA KINABALU, Thurs: Datuk Ghapur Salleh quashed speculations that he will jump ship after quitting as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister yesterday.

"I have not been approached by the opposition and I will remain as the Kalabakan Divisional Umno Chief. I am not quitting Umno," he said on his return here from Kuala Lumpur today. "I have friends from both sides, including the opposition.

People can speculate whatever they like but my track record shows I have never 'jumped' (switch parties) like the others during the PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) time."

Ghapur, 64, was referring to the time when the Barisan Nasional wrested power to rule Sabah after several leaders defected from the then ruling PBS government in 1994.

Ghapur is the second Sabah MP and third in the Abdullah administration to turn down the deputy minister’s post. Soon after Abdullah named his Cabinet on March 18, MP for Kimanis Datuk Anifah Aman declined to take up the post of Deputy Transport Minister. At the same time, Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar, the MP for Jerantut, tendered his resignation.

It was also not the first time he resigned from a high profile post. In 1997 Ghapur resigned as the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister as well as the Deputy Umno Liaison Chief, citing then his failure to perform his duties and personal problems as reasons for his resignation.

In his latest surprise two days ago, Ghapur submitted his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister's office despite having taken his oath to serve as the Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur on March 19. Ghapur who is MP for Kalabakan won uncontested the second time around in the March 8 polls.

On why he took his oath then Ghapur said he had little time to think about it. "It could have been different if the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) had informed me about it earlier. It was only after the swearing-in-ceremony I consulted family members and friends about it," said Ghapur who did go to the ministry to check his office for one day and that was where he drafted his resignation letter.

"I don't want to be tied up. I prefer to move around as the Kalabakan MP and serve my constituents. If I stay on I would not be able to function as an elected representative or even as the Umno divisional chief."

Ghapur also said he will not be explaining his decision to his constituents. "Its not necessary and after all I have made my decision."

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