Thursday, May 9, 2013

'Favourites' for Sabah cabinet


CRITERIA: Credible track record and ability important

KOTA KINABALU: RETAIN the ones with a good track record and replace those who did not perform with new faces.

This is what the people in Sabah want to see in the state cabinet line-up, which comprises three deputy chief ministers and 11 ministers and their assistants.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is expected to helm the Finance Ministry, will have a lot to choose from as he evaluates past performances and gauges the ability of the new faces.

Favourites to be kept in their portfolio are Datuk Masidi Manjun, who was state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister since 2007, and Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, the state Industrial Development Minister.

Eyes are on who will take over the Resource Development and Information Technology Minister portfolio held previously by Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai (who lost in the election) for two terms.
The return of former chief minister and state assembly speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said into politics, also brings an interesting twist as to where he will be placed.

"In general, Musa will probably look at those who can take care of the interests of the people and help further strengthen Barisan Nasional over the next five years.

"He might need to find leaders with a futuristic outlook on rural development and infrastructure development portfolios, especially for the Kadazandusun Murut village folk who need them to be their voices," said senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Zaini Othman.

Datuk Hajiji Noor, who previously held the Local Government and Housing Ministry portfolio, might be shifted to another portfolio to make way for someone more constructive in enhancing the services of the urban people, added Zaini, who majored in political science.

"As for the Resource Development and IT portfolio, it might be someone new to suit the nature of young voters as they become more involved in the country's politics via the new media platform."
Businessman Dr Jurin Gunsalam, 33, said the people wanted the things listed in the state BN Akujanji to be carried out, so the government should consider initiating a mechanism to monitor whether all the promises are kept.
"The younger generation would like to see dynamic, progressive and liberal leaders identified in new faces being given active roles, like Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (Kiulu) and Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu).
At the same time, we want ministers who performed like Masidi reinstated," said Jurin.

His sentiments were echoed by Harjinder Kler, who works with the environmental non-governmental organisation Hutan, who said Masidi had addressed a lot of environmental issues and was the perfect person for tourism and culture.

She also agreed that someone younger and technology-savvy should replace Yee in the IT portfolio, stating that "a good first criteria is to see if that leader has his or her own social media presence".

Like Zaini, Kler said the post of infrastructure development minister should go to someone with an engineering, architectural or planning background.

A writer who works with indigenous communities in Malaysia, Leo Alaza, said he did not have any special preference on personalities, but expects the best from the entire cabinet.

"What the indigenous communities want is a state cabinet to really understand the true aspirations and genuinely reflect them in their decisions and actions.

"To achieve this the communities expect to be consulted first before any decisions are made that will affect them especially with regard to their traditional lands, territories and resources."

Read more: 'Favourites' for Sabah cabinet - New Straits Times

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