Line clear for Salleh back into the system
As published HERE today
KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Salleh Tun Said is slowly being eased back into the centre of state politics.
Salleh, who lost favour with Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman and was dropped as a BN candidate in the last election, was today given the influential post of Kota Belud BN division chief.
Salleh was earlier this year appointed as Science and Technology Adviser to the Chief Minister, a post with Cabinet rank.
Announcing a new line-up of state BN chairmen after chairing a special state BN meeting, Musa said Kota Belud MP Rahman Dahlan would replace long-serving secretary Datuk Karim Bujang, the Bongowan assemblyman.
The coalition sees 10 new faces to be among the 25 division chairmen. Incidentally, it was Rahman who replaced Salleh as a candidate for the Kota Belud parliamentary seat.
The new line-up also sees replacement for three BN division chief posts formerly held by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), which left the coalition in September 2008.
Kota Kinabalu division was taken over by Parti Bersatu Sabah deputy president Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Umno's Datuk Rubin Balang took over Tenom while Jumat Idris, also of Umno, took over as head of the Sepanggar division.
Also among the new faces are United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok is now the Penampang division chairman while Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk V K Liew will chair the coalition's Sandakan division.
Musa, who presented the letters of appointment from Barisan chairman, Prime Minsietr Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said that all component parties at division level have been asked to submit the number of members at their branch levels.
He said that all Barisan division chairmen were also directed to coordinate activities with component parties as well as conduct activities to help solve people's problems in their respective areas.
"They have to strengthen the Barisan and prepare for the next general election," he told reporters.
He said an earlier meeting with eight member Sabah Barisan leaders was to discuss matters regarding party representation at local councils and also issues related to land.
"We were looking at ways to see how best to get parties to have their representatives in local councils," he said.Najib's people
Political insiders say Salleh's sudden return to the centre of Sabah politics is an interesting development.
"It appears that most of those elevated or retained are Najib's people. If that is the case, then Musa is losing his grip," said a source.
The return of Salleh also points to attempts to heal wounds that opened in United Sabah Bajau Organisation (USBO) after stalwarts, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and Datuk Datu Amir Kahar, the son of late Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, were not included in the list of BN candidates in the last election.
Salleh is the son of the late Tun Muhammad Said Keruak, a former chief minister himself and Sabah's seventh governor and founder member of the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), the political party formed by his close friend, the late Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun.