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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Shafie says his Chief Ministership is now legal after assembly meet

KOTA KINABALU - Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal hopes the special state assembly sitting today has resolved the confusion over who is the rightful chief minister.

He said the emergency sitting, which was held in accordance with the state constitution, contained two important components – firstly, to swear in members of the assembly and secondly, to state the support for the new leadership and government.

“We have taken all the necessary steps to show we are in charge of the state now,” he said after attending the special sitting at the state legislative assembly building here.

“The process we went through today put a stop to what has been said outside, whether overseas or in the country. We have a legal government and a legal chief minister running the state of Sabah,” he said.

Shafie secured the support from members of the state assembly, including four nominated assemblymen, as the rightful chief minister.

Shafie, who is also Senallang assemblyman, said the important task at hand now was to focus on what Sabah needed to move forward.

“Thank you to all the elected reps who gave their support. What’s important now is we work together so that we govern the state the best that we can to ensure the people will be taken care of,” he said.

The state fell into a constitutional crisis when the Sabah head of state swore in Shafie less than 48 hours after swearing in state Barisan Nasional chief Musa Aman as the chief minister on May 10.

With Parti Warisan Sabah and its ally Pakatan Harapan tied with Sabah BN at 29 seats each following the May 9 election, Musa was able to form the government after gaining a slight majority of 31 seats following Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku’s (STAR) decision to join forces with BN.

However, the Warisan president was sworn in by Sabah governor Juhar Mahiruddin on May 12, after four Umno and two Upko representatives crossed over to the Warisan-PH fold. Two more assemblyman, from Umno and Upko, also defected later.

Meanwhile, Shafie said an elected representative has 90 days from the first sitting to take their oath.

“We know that an assemblyman was elected by the people but for legal reasons, they have to be sworn in and that process must take place during the assembly sitting.

“The assemblyman can only be excused with the prior consent of the speaker,” he said.

Deputy chief minister Christina Liew said there would be “consequences” if the assemblymen who failed to turn up today continued to stay away from future state assembly sittings.

“It is very irresponsible of those who had been elected not to have turned up. The voters, they expect you to come to the state assembly and bring up their issues.

“Although they are not part of the government anymore, they should play a role as an effective opposition. We were in the opposition before but we turned up,” she said.

The Sabah PKR chief also said the time for politicking was over.

“It’s as if they can’t accept the fact they are now the opposition… I’m surprised with the mentality,” Liew added.

Those absent included Musa, who is the Sungai Sibuga assemblyman.

The 21 assemblymen who did not turn up comprised 11 from Umno, six from PBS, two from STAR and a sole representative each from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Upko.

Sabah Umno treasurer Hajiji Mohd Noor and STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan had said yesterday that BN and STAR assemblymen would boycott the sitting which they claimed was illegal.

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