Give us time, says Shafie
Published on: Friday, August 17, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Mohd Apdal said the first 100 days since taking over the State Government from Barisan Nasional has been an uphill battle, but is confident that given time his administration will be able to put Sabah on the right footing. "I must say that it is an uphill battle, I thought when I took over there will be enough money reserve of surpluses…but goodness when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told me that I will discover something beyond my expectations, I was indeed surprised," he said.

"I think what is important now is how best we can overcome the sort of problems that we have," he told a media conference at the Magellan Sutera Resort, Thursday. August 21 will mark 100 days since his Parti Warisan Sabah-led government took over.

"But we are fairly confident that given time, a year and a half, or perhaps a year, we will be able to put Sabah in the right footing not only in terms of structural changes that needs to be done, but also within how the GLCs are managed, government departments … that is also a crucial outfit to ensure that we can develop the State," he said.

"I mean you can have good policies but if the civil servants are not involved you can't do much.

You can have bad policies but if the civil servants are excellent, I can tell you that you can do wonders," he said.

The State Government under Shafie who also holds the State Finance Minister portfolio, has already started bringing several changes to Sabah.

Among them was the ban on log exports which led to uncovering a major logging scandal, announced the abolishment of communal grants to be replaced with individual grants, as well as looked into the possibility of reviving barter trade in Sabah which was ceased in 2016 due to security reasons.

"We have done something for Sabah, it will be a total change. I know there are high hopes down the line there, very high expectations but you can't unwind that after having to change the government for the last 50 years.

"It has been hardly 100 days that we have been there, one cannot expect miracles overnight, bear with us but of course it will be on the right footing," he assured.

On claims that Warisan is making a U-turn on some of the promises as well as on appointments of GLC heads, Shafie pointed out that there has to be good leadership on certain part of the GLC and the government department to ensure that they have the right mind-set to support the current government.

"Life it is not going to be easy, when you take over the government there will be 'generals' there but you can't kill all the 'generals'. They have vast experience some of them, so you can't change all the heads.

"Of course you have to have good leadership on certain part of the GLC and the government department to ensure they have the right mindset to support the current government and that will be done," he added.

"I think give us awhile, it will be lesser than a month hopefully, there will be some surprises, one good example is the Water Department.

"I know it was a bold move that we have done, there is an outcry there, but I have spelled it out.

I think the public at large want ample supply of clean water, treated water to be available to them, and that is more important than anything else," he said.

He said this can only be realised when you have efficient people with the know-how and expertise, adding that it must be based on merits.

"When you get someone to run an organisation it must be based on merits, it cannot be based on just because they were there, not race, not religion.

"I think when you get the right people involved then that will be good for the people at large and the State too, but of course given time, you cannot unwind that overnight.

"As I mentioned there are high expectations down the line but we have to get many more professionals to run not only GLCs but other outfits," he said. - Sherell Jeffrey


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