Thursday, March 13, 2008


Only LDP asked for posts at meeting: Yong


Cabinet lineup is the prerogative of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee. He stressed this yesterday when asked for comment on the new State Cabinet line-up, especially whether SAPP is going to follow the footsteps of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Datuk VK Liew to ask for more posts in the State and Federal administrations. Yong also noted that that the Prime Minister and Chief Minister are fully aware of the political situation in the country and Sabah. “The PM and CM know what to do. Let’s not add pressure by demanding for posts through the newspapers. We can only say that Sabah and Sarawak should play a more effective and meaningful role at the Federal level. But we cannot interfere in the appointments of Cabinet, either State or Federal, by asking for this and that. If every party scrambles for posts, there will be chaos in the BN,” said Yong who is a former Chief Minister of Sabah. “Leaders are elected to serve, not to scramble for posts,” he added. Asked whether SAPP is going to ask for more posts for SAPP assembly members in the State Cabinet, Yong replied that the Chief Minister is fully aware of the composition of the State Legislative Assembly. “Under our constitution, which every lawyer should know, the appointment and dismissal of Cabinet members is the sole prerogative of the Chief Minister. If he deems necessary, he may consult other people such as political party leaders and relevant officials,” he pointed out. On Liew’s disclosure that they had asked for posts in both the Federal and State Governments at the BN Supreme .Council meeting on Monday, and whether he (Yong) too had asked for posts at that meeting, Yong replied that only LDP had made the request. Yong said the meeting was called to stabilise the political situation in the whole country, adding that the agenda was to discuss the reasons for BN’s huge loss to the opposition, the post-election implications and how to strengthen the BN Government. “All other component parties spoke on national issues and those affecting Sabah and Sarawak such as illegal immigrants, land and religious and racial polarisation. It was rather out of context for anybody to lobby for posts at that BN meeting,” he pointed out. On whether anyone spoke on the Cabinet line-up, Yong said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak did mention that Cabinet appointments is the prerogative of the Prime Minister but nobody was asked to submit proposals. “The PM also readout the number of seats contested and won by each component party. The PM knows what to do,” he related. Meanwhile, Yong disclosed that at the tea reception before the meeting, some component party leaders did indicate that they would opt out of Government posts. “Let them make their respective announcements. I managed to praise Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon for his statesmanship shown in dealing with defeat and handing over power to the opposition which has been merciless in their attacks on him all these years. Tan Sri Koh has become an even more respectable leader after his defeat. We should learn from him and others like the ex-Menteri Besar of Kedah, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid,” he said.