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Monday, October 9, 2017

Yong: Why now? The answer is in the question

KOTA KINABALU - The answer to the question posed by ex-Federal Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Aqdal why is it that only now that the authorities are probing corruption in his former ministry is in the question, said SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

"Datuk Seri Shafie, who was a senior federal leader, should know better. Now that Shafie has joined the struggle for Sabah rights, he should expect that more challenges will be thrown his way, like what SAPP has been facing for the last ten years.

"When, on 18 June 2008, SAPP and our two MPs declared that we had lost confidence in the then Prime Minister, within 48 hours, on 20 June, the then Director-General of the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) announced, out of the blue, on television that I was under investigation for corruption. This announcement had the effect of deterring other MPs from joining our no-confidence move against the then Prime Minister.

"This “timely” announcement came in spite of the fact that I had received, from the Cabinet Section of the Prime Minister’s Department, an official letter of nomination as Senator just 3 days earlier on 17 June 2008. The Senatorship nomination means that my records had been screened and deemed to be clean; otherwise a Senatorship could not be offered to me. Considering this offer of Senatorship a bribery to call off the no-confidence declaration, I did not accept the nomination and proceeded with the no confidence move.

Yong said he had nothing to fear as he knew that earlier reports made against him by my enemies are false. "I had earlier been summoned to ACA offices to give statements. ACA officers visited my home, my party HQ and my law firm office. I considered those harassments as occupational hazards," he added.

"Because of the ACA announcement that I was under investigation, I phoned the ACA office to volunteer to come to their office as I did not want to be stopped at the airport when I left for my son’s graduation in England later that month. But the ACA office replied that there was no on-going investigation against me and that “if we want you to come, we will call you.”

"The struggle for Sabah rights has never been easy. Gabungan Sabah Chairman, Datuk Hj. Mohd Noor Mansur and Party STAR President, Datuk Dr. Jeffery Kitingan, among others, spent years in detention without trial under the then infamous Internal Security Act. In recent years, Sabahan activists were locked up. Some were charged for sedition.

"We welcome Datuk Shafie and others who have joined the Sabahan fight for Sabah rights. But they should wake up to the fact that the righteous struggle of Sabahans is not going to be easy like a “walk in the park”. Therefore, the need for unity of Sabah opposition parties is even more apparent now than ever. It is for this reason that an alliance of Sabah parties called Gabungan Sabah was formed to fight UMNO/BN and other Malaya parties.

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