Shafie says grateful to Madius
Published on: Saturday, August 10, 2019
By: Neil Chan

Photo Source: Bernama
PENAMPANG: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal formally recorded his appreciation to Upko and especially its President Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau for helping Warisan Sabah form the new State Government following the 14th general election in May last year.

“When Madius came to see me to discuss being part of the coalition, he didn’t demand any post or remuneration.

“He just said he wanted to create a new State Government. I am aware that although Upko only had few seats when we formed the new State Government, it was not the number that counts. It’s the sincerity,” he said, at Upko’s 25th anniversary celebrations at Pusat Kebudayaan Sabah, in Penampang, on Thursday.

Shafie said Madius also never asked to be Deputy Chief Minister. Together with Ewon Benedict, I had no hesitation in making the Ministers in my Cabinet,” he said. Madius was also made a Nominated Assemblyman.

The defection of Madius and Upko’s election winners caused the collapse of the Sabah Barisan Nasional government led by incumbent Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman. 

Musa, who was sworn in as Chief Minister after some delay earlier with a 31-seat majority with the inclusion of Star Sabah’s two seats in the 60-seat Assembly, took the matter of his appointment to court which ruled in favour of Shafie due to the defections by Upko and some Umno elected representatives. Musa has since appealed the decision. 

It marked the third time that Sabah faced a post-election crisis over the CM post. The first was in 1984 soon after the fall of Berjaya which saw Tun Mustapha who was appointed CM initially being directed by Acting Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam to step down, citing what happened as a “power grab”. PBS had won a simple majority of 25 seats in the then 48-seat State Assembly. Mustapha then took new CM Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to court but lost.

The second involved Pairin and Tan Sri Sakaran Dandai when PBS elected representatives switched camps to the BN side following a three-day delay in swearing-in Pairin as CM again with a 25-seat simple majority in the Assembly in 1994 when then Governor Tun Said Keruak claimed he was too ill to carry out his duty. Pairin was forced to park outside the Istana gates for three days before being allowed to take his oath. 

However, the defections caused Pairin to lose his simple majority. He declined to take the matter to court, partly because the 1988 Anti-Hop law that held the PBS State Government together since winning another State election called within a year in 1985 was challenged and reversed under the Federal Government then led by Tun Dr Mahathir.

Meanwhile, Shafie said cooperation of all government component parties in Sabah is important to ensure the stability and strength of the State Government.

He said closer understanding and cooperation was essential to achieve this goal. “With cooperation and understanding, the government will be able to demand for the State’s rights. We should give priority to the needs of Sabahans and as a stable government we will continue the fight for these rights,” he said 

He said it was normal for a party to overcome many challenges and obstacles in order to remain relevant. 

“I know there are many challenges facing Upko since its establishment but the party has succeeded in producing many leaders at both state and federal levels. For example Dompok was a Sabah Chief Minister and a minister at federal level,” he said. Madius, in his speech, took the opportunity to thank its members who have remained with the party. 

He said the party had to weather many challenges including critiques and attacks adding that it was not new but something the party had been through before during the course of its existence. Despite all that, he said, the party was still here in the State. 

He added the party would also undergo a rebranding exercise in the near future following a committee headed by Senator Datuk Donald Mojuntin having finished conducting its study in all its 27 divisions nationwide.

He added that whatever form the rebranding would take, it was his hope that it would serve to strengthen Upko and make the party the choice of the Momogun community.  Also present were Upko honorary president Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok and secretary-general Nelson Angang. 


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