Shafie’s wooing Yong back into BN
In a bid to unseat Musa Aman, Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal is allegedly brokering deals with SAPP's Yong Teck Lee.
Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal is allegedly masterminding the return of former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee into the Barisan Nasional and claiming he has the tacit approval of party president Najib Tun Razak to negotiate the return.
This is despite the fact that Sabah BN components distrust Yong, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president.
Yong, Shafie and Joseph Ambrose Lee were partners in crime at one time. They allegedly took over the RM30-billion timber wealth of Yayasan Sabah through a share-swap. The “swap” had allegedly taken place when Yong was chief minister and Shafie a directer in Yayasan Sabah.
Like it or not, it was Musa Aman who was then Sabah Finance Minister who rejected this share-swap deal, saving Yayasan Sabah from a pending doom.
Shafie’s intention of bringing Yong back into BN will weaken Musa’s leadership among BN followers.
It will serve Shafie well. Shafie’s jealousy of Musa is well known here. He has made innumerable attempts to pull Musa down.
He was responsible for instigating Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin to call Musa’s removal as chief minister. Shafie awarded Lajim with a RM150 million road project from his Rural and Regional Development Ministry.
Shafie also helped form KDM Malaysia to divide the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) community. The aim was to politically weaken Deputy Chief Minister Pairin Joseph Kitingan and his party PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah), hence driving a wedge between Pairin and Musa.
Why is Shafie so jealous of Musa? Shafie dreams of being the top dog in Sabah but I think it’s a pipe dream.
Musa’s good for Sabah
When Sabah attained independence in 1963, Malaysia was born.
Right from independence in 1963 to 1985, the Alliance-Barisan National ruled Sabah. After 1985, Harris Salleh was defeated, and Pairin became the chief minister.
But even at that time Sabah was ruled by BN until 1986 when PBS pulled out of BN. In 1994, BN wrested control of power from PBS when Lajim defected from PBS.
His action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government. Sakaran Dandai became the first Umno chief minister of Sabah in 1994.
In 2003, Musa was appointed chief minister. Immediately on assuming office, Musa faced crisis after crisis.
First, the state treasury was nearly negative; Yayasan Sabah was on the verge of going bust; state agencies were in the red; and the financial situation of the state was in shambles.
Musa prudently turn around the mess he inherited.
In 2004, Musa faced state election and captured more seats than in 1999 and became the chief minister again. He won again in 2008 with a thumping victory, winning 59 out of the 60 state seats.
Musa vs Shafie
Under Musa’s rule, Sabah has registered remarkable progress in the last 10 years.
Sabah has even earned praise from Auditor-General Ambrin Buang for demonstrating sound financial management and for maintaining its record of efficient and prudent handling of its finances over the last 12 years.
One hundred and six departments and agencies were audited last year and each showed that its financial management was at a very good level.
Even Moody International has certified the Sabah government for efficient and proper budget management for three years running and RAM has given it a triple-A rating for its finances.
Sure, Sabah has had problems, but it is progressing.
Shafie, on the other hand, has had billions at his disposal under his ministerial portfolio. He has been Semporna MP since 1995 yet his achievements paled in comparison to Musa.
He has done nothing much to improve the livelihood of the Semporna folks despite having a huge budget at his disposal.
It explains Shafie’s envy.
Meanwhile, word on the ground is that Musa is set to remain chief minister for the next five years. Word is that he will move on to become the federal Finance Minister in 2017.
And when that happens, it will be to Sabah’s loss.
Selvaraja Somiah is a geologist and freelance writer. He blogs at selvarajasomiah.wordpress.com.