Shafie Holds On to Finance Portfolio Despite Criticisms

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Amid speculations of whether he will drop his Finance Ministry portfolio, Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal is adamant on keeping both portfolios, insisting that it will not be a problem.

Using an analogy of a car and its driver, Shafie said that he will prove in time that there will not be a conflict of interest and he will be able to “drive” the ministry.

“I’m reiterating, don’t blame the car. The problem is not with the Mercedes, it’s the driver. It’s not the car, it could be the fault of the driver.

Julia Chan

“It’s not because of the ministerial post. That’s not the problem. We will prove it over time,” he said.

There has been criticism from several parties aimed at Shafie for holding on to the Finance portfolio in addition to the chief minister position, including an online petition on which has so far garnered some 17,000 online signatures.

The petition wants to compel Shafie to appoint someone else as the State Finance Minister.

There is also increasing pressure following the move by the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had also dropped his Education portfolio following criticism that he did not abide by the Pakatan Harapan’s promise that no Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister should hold more than one portfolio.

Shafie had said he was to use his experience as an economist and wanted to make sure the state finances went back on the right track.

His predecessor Tan Sri Musa Aman had also held the posts of both Chief Minister and Finance Minister which had often raised concerns about conflicts of interest.

When asked whether he would relinquish his post after a certain time, Shafie said “we will see how it goes”.

Shafie had earlier met the head of departments in the state government to explain the new direction he would like to take.

“There will be some changes, especially with the introduction of the new ministries. I’m also looking at promises we have made which we have to fulfil within a short period of 100 days,” he said. – Malay Mail