Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said the interests of all the ethnic communities have been taken into consideration in the distribution of the State Cabinet posts.
“We have done our best to consider the interests of the various ethnics (in Sabah) in distributing the posts É so it is not necessary to raise this issue anymore,” he said met after chairing the State Steering Committee on poverty eradication at Wisma Innoprise, here, Tuesday.
Musa, who is also Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman, was asked to comment on the statement by Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) Information Chief Rayner Francis Udong that the party regretted the lopsided State Cabinet line-up was not corrected “when we have the opportunity to do so”.
Udong had also stated that PBRS headed by Tan Sri Joseph Kurup believed the Kadazandusun Muruts (KDMs) should at least be given another full ministerial post as the present two given to Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan of Parti Bersatu Sabah and Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin of Upko did not reflect well on the racial line-up.
He said PBRS insisted that the formula of 5:3:2 where Umno hold five ministerial posts, three for the KDM and two for the Chinese, should be respected.
Commenting on the issue, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Parin Joseph Kitingan said the non-Muslim bumiputera quota in the State Cabinet can be changed at the discretion of the Chief Minister.
He said the matter had always been debatable but at the same time urged the people not to make it into a big issue. He said as much as he would like to have a more stable quota, the decision to have as many or as few non-Muslim bumiputeras in the State Cabinet remains at the discretion of the Chief Minister.
“Five, four, three or whatever the formula, has always been a debatable issue. I do not think we ought to be too stuck or too stiff about this kind of thing.
“We would like to have a stable quota but at the same time we must understand that this is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. It is up to him (Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman) to make the necessary adjustment or make the necessary appointments,” said Pairin.
He said this after handing over duties to new Minister of Rural Development, Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, Tuesday. Also present was the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Datuk Gulam Jalani and Deputy Permanent Secretary, Razak Walli, among others.
“He, or anybody who is the Chief Minister, will always have to take into account the aspirations or the expectations of all component political parties. Whatever decision he made is his prerogative.
I am confident it was done in the best interest of the BN Government and to ensure all government programmes would run smoothly.”
Pairin also thanked the Ministry for supporting him and his leadership throughout the years he was in office.
Ewon, meanwhile, vowed to do his best to carry out his new duties as Minister of Rural Development.
Upon vacating the office as Minister of Rural Development, Pairin takes on new duties as Minister of Infrastructure Development.
Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who was previously the Minister of Infrastructure Development, now takes over Ewon’s former position as the Minister of Industrial Development.