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Up to Yong what he wants to do next, says Harris
Published on: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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Kota Kinabalu: The providing of cash dividends to the people of Sabah was abolished on Aug. 14, 1996 during Datuk Yong Teck Lee's tenure as Chief Minister, said former Berjaya-era Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh."I did not contradict myself É it was clearly reported in the newspapers then (about) Yong making the announcement on the State Cabinet's decision to dissolve the Amanah Rakyat Negeri Sabah (ARNS).

"It says here that it was a State Cabinet decision but he was the Chief Minister at that timeÉso he was the boss," Harris told reporters at a press conference at Sabah Golf and Country Club, Tuesday.

Harris said the Sabah Foundation share was the brainchild of his predecessor Tun Mustapha Datu Harun to assist the people of Sabah who were holding the Amanah Rakyat Sabah (ARS) share certificate.

He said his Berjaya government made five payments amounting to RM580 to each unit holder, while the succeeding Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) administration made only one payment of RM200.

"The PBS government then recalled all the certificates on the pretext that it was going to be replaced by a new certificate under the ARNS," he said, adding that "but PBS was deprived of the government by the Barisan Nasional (BN)."

Yong had announced the abolishment of the ARNS after the State Cabinet meeting on August 14, 1996, said Harris, showing the newspaper clippings.

About the book with his photograph that was shown by Yong together with the Hansard, Harris acknowledged it was written by him and that it called for the Sabah Foundation shares to be retained.

"I am very happy because there is a commitment and pledge by a leader from Sabah that if he is wrong he is prepared to shoot himself.

This is a very good sign for democracy.

"This happened in Japan, they called it harakiri. In Singapore, it was reported that two ministers committed suicide because of allegations of corruption.

"Now we have in Sabah a former Chief Minister who pledged to shoot himself if found with criminal wrongdoings," said Harris.

"I don't want to ask people to shoot themselves but if he feels he is guilty then É," he quipped, when asked if Yong should also shoot himself on the Sabah Foundation shares issue.

Yong had the day before said he would shoot himself if he were found responsible for the RM300 million Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) losses years ago.

Harris maintained his stand in the book (the copies circulated to reporters) especially the annual dividend since Yayasan Sabah had been managed excellently, hence making so much profit for the people of Sabah.

"I think it (dividend payment) should be returned to the rakyat.

Even if the shares belong to the people the State Government still controls the foundation," he said.

The debate between Harris and Yong stemmed from the former's statement when he defended Sabah's founding fathers such as Tun Mustapha and Tun Fuad Stephens who according to Tan Sri Herman Luping and Prof Dr Danny Wong were not well educated enough to negotiate with Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew during the formation of Malaysia.

"What I am saying is that Mustapha who was only educated up to Primary Six created something that is good but which was later abolished by educated lawyers," he said.


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