Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Lobbying on for Sabah Cabinet


The Barisan Nasional (BN) won landslide victories in Sabah, sweeping 59 of the 60 state seats and 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats at stake in the State in the just- concluded general election. Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is Sabah Umno chief and BN chairman, was sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the second term at Istana Negeri yesterday. Now the guessing game is on as to the personalities who will make the Sabah Cabinet lineup. After his swearing-in yesterday, Musa told reporters that he would be discussing the matter with Sabah BN component parties before meeting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the Sabah cabinet lineup. He said the lineup would be announced at the latest by next week, but it could be as early as this Friday. However, the lobbying has already begun with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) openly asking for two posts - minister and assistant minister. In the previous state cabinet, the LDP was given Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) and Tourism, Culture and Environment portfolios,which were held by Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat. When Chong resigned from the State Cabinet last April 13 following the Ma Zu statue controversy, the LDP was given the Youth and Sports portfolio, which was filled by the party’s vice president, Datuk Liew Yun Fah. The DCM’s post was filled by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Deputy President Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah. It should be interesting how the cabinet posts are distributed this time around. If the 2004 status quo is maintained, Umno, apart from the CM’s post, will get six full and seven assistant minister posts while Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), will get one of the DCM posts, two full ministerships and four assistant minister posts. The SAPP and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organistion (Upko), meanwhile, will each get a minister and assistant minister posts while the MCA an assistant minister post: However, if the 2004 status quo is maintained, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) will again be left out of the cabinet although its candidate Datuk Ellron Alfred Angian defeated Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Paul Bunsu Gitang and three independent candidates for the Sook state seat by a 2,131-vote majority, a massive increase over the 395 vote majority obtained in the 2004 election.