DE did not misreport: Ex-CM
Published on: Thursday, August 22, 2019
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KOTA KINABALU:  Former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee (pic) said there was no misreporting in the Daily Express front page report on Aug. 20 which quoted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying Sabah leaders did not complain about their dissatisfaction on three key issues recently.

The SAPP President, who is a lawyer, said that looking at the report as a whole, it did not materially depart from the gist and spirit of what the Prime Minister had said.

 “The Prime Minister’s Office’s clarification that Mahathir was not referring to Sabahan federal ministers does not depart from the core issue that he was not aware of Sabah’s unhappiness about not being consulted on the departure tax, appointment of the Universiti Sabah Malaysia Vice-Chancellor and introduction of Jawi calligraphy in vernacular schools”.

He said all that the ministers needed to do was to say how they had been speaking out on Sabah issues and what they had said.

Hence, he said, the ministers’ overreactions show their discomfort at the Prime Minister’s remarks that Sabah leaders had not spoken up on Sabah issues. 

“The Sabah people want to see the fulfillment of the promises of the government to Sabah. The Sabah media’s role is to ask our ministers about their public duties.

“The Prime Minister’s revelation that leaders from Sabah did not complain about the serious issues affecting Sabah shows his state of mind — that he had no impression of Sabah representatives speaking out on Sabah issues.”

Yong said maybe our Sabahan federal ministers and our Sabah Government did try to speak up but they must have done so ineffectively which explains why the Prime Minister told the paper’s Chief Editor James Sarda at the Press conference that Sabah leaders had not complained about these issues.

He said ministers cannot simply deny knowledge of government policies and actions as they are at the top of the decision-making process. 

“They exercise collective responsibility. The ministers must share responsibilities in the same way that they share power in government.”

He said the ministers cannot have the luxury of claiming to be influential or powerful and yet at the same time deny responsibility for the policies and actions of the government.

“If, as implied by ministers Darell Leiking (Minister of International Trade and Industry) and VK Liew (Minister of Law in the Prime Minister’s Department), that they had spoken out, how is it that the Jawi calligraphy introduction and departure tax, among others, have been imposed on Sabah?” Yong asked.

“Does this mean that the ministers agreed with the departure tax, Jawi calligraphy and other issues affecting Sabah? 

“Or does it mean that the ministers’ voices were not effective? Which is which?”

Daily Express apologised to the ministers concerned once it received clarification from the Prime Minister’s office that Dr Mahathir was not referring to the Sabah Federal Ministers, in particular.

Because the Prime Minister did not elaborate on who he meant when he said “Well, the Sabah Government did not say anything to us”, the paper assumed that he was referring to the Sabah representatives in the Cabinet since they meet in Putrajaya every week.

Both Darrel and Liew then assured that the Sabah ministers at federal level do take every opportunity to raise matters concerning Sabah as was expected of them. 


Related Stories:

DE has contacted PM’s office on matter

DE did not misreport: Ex-CM

Sabah leaders didn’t complain: Dr M

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Statement by VK Liew on PM’s comment


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