Friday, June 20, 2008


Yong’s no-confidence move irrational: CM


It was irrational for an experienced politician such as Datuk Yong Teck Lee to declare loss of confidence against the Prime Minister, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. He said the issues raised by the Sabah Progressive Party President to support the vote of no confidence on Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are “invalid”. “The Federal Government has been very helpful to meet Sabah’s needs. And this is also due to the constant communication between the State Government and our Federal counterpart,” Musa told a press conference at Sri Gaya here yesterday. “I have always voiced out the State Government’s needs to the Prime Minister during meetings and the requests would be entertained almost immediately. I do realise that sometimes there is a delay in approval but somehow, it will be approved after some time,” he said. “He gave approval to the request for the 300- megawatt power plant in Kimanis, which would see the collaboration between Petronas and Yayasan Sabah, and the huge allocation from the Federal Government to carry out development projects under the five-year Malaysia Plan and the 18-year holistic Sabah Development Corridor project. “Just recently, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry had approved an additional RM75 million for our agriculture sector in Sabah and there was an additional RM1.8 billion to further improve our supply of clean water and electricity, as well as infrastructure facilities all over the State. This shows that the Federal Government does care and understand our problems.” Musa, who is also the Sabah Barisan Nasional Chairman, also strongly disagreed with Yong’s claims that the ‘window of opportunity’ for Sabah is very limited and soon problems in the State will be forgotten. “What does he (Yong) mean by limited window of opportunity; we have lots of opportunities, and the Country’s top leaders have always listened to our plight” he said. “The Federal Government has abolished the State Federal Development Department (JPPS) and the call for locals to hold important posts in the Federal Government departments and agencies, has also already happened. “Illegal immigrants-related problems have also been raised frequently but we have to understand that it is not an easy issue as it involves other countries, but that does not mean we are not tackling it. “In fact, the High Powered Cabinet Committee on Illegal Immigrants was recently set up to look into the issue, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,” Musa said. On political autonomy, Musa said: “We (State Cabinet) have been operating on our own, including managing the State funds and administration. And I as the Chief Minister have my powers to manage the State; the Federal Government has never interfered in the State matters.” On the request for additional 15 per cent oil royalty, Musa said they have also made a similar request but it was not approved. “May be if we do not get it this time, we will get it some other time. The 20 per cent oil royalty is good but we have to understand the current situation. “We also understand that the people are suffering due to the fuel prices hike, and as explained by the top leaders many times, the Government is doing its level best to lighten the people’s burden. “But, although additional oil royalty has yet to happen, Sabah is lucky as we have been getting big allocations in terms of development funds from the Federal Government,” he said. Asked whether he thought the five per cent oil royalty is sufficient, Musa said: “I cannot say it is sufficient, but to me, as long as they keep giving us money (allocations), it is good enough. What is more important is for the money to keep coming in for development in Sabah.”