Nearing 100 days, Shafie wants 18 months to ‘get Sabah on right track’

Julia Chan
Shafie said the months since his Parti Warisan Sabah took over Sabah have not been easy while he has also been under immense pressure. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 16 — Nearing the state government’s 100 day milestone, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said he encountered “surprising” discoveries and will need a year-and-half to steer Sabah back to health.

Shafie said the months since his Parti Warisan Sabah took over Sabah have not been easy while he has also been under immense pressure.

“I thought when I took over there will be enough money, reserve of surpluses. But goodness, Mahathir told me ‘you will discover something beyond your expectation...’,

“So I was indeed surprised too myself. I think what is important now is how best we can overcome that sort of problems that we have. But we are fairly confident, given time, in year or year and a half like that, we will be able to put Sabah in the right footing...” he said during a press conference.

Shafie was sworn in as chief minister on May 12, two days after political nemesis Tan Sri Musa Aman, and formed his state Cabinet with Pakatan Harapan shortly after.

The former minister said that he has already made some changes, but added he will announce more policy changes soon that will be a game changer for the state.

Among the moves he has made include introducing two new ministries, banning the export of logs from the state, reviewing the Forestry department’s timber concessionaires, abolishing native communal land titles, and restructuring the central planning board in charge of approving development projects.

“I know there’s high hopes down the line — high expectations — but you can’t unwind so soon after no change in the government for the last 50 years. In 100 days we have been there... one cannot expect miracles,” he said.

On criticism that his government was slow to appoint directors for government-linked companies, Shafie said that one could not “kill all the generals”.

He said many such holders of the positions were vastly experienced and could still contribute, but gave his assurance that he will install good leaders.

“Give us a while, it will be less than a month. Hopefully,” he said.

On the federal government’s performance in the last 10 days, Shafie said he was “delighted” with the changes under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom he lauded as having the right experience to move the country forward.

“Everyone knows anyway, not only Malaysians, I think the whole world knows Mahathir.

“What’s important is that as Malaysians, we have to give him the fullest support possible, to ensure it will be for the betterment of the country and people,” he said.