Monday, February 6

New KK mayor appointed

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CM says appointment of Abidin after consultation with State BN leaders

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman announced that after consulting with most of the state Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders, the state government has decided to appoint Datuk Abidin Madingkir as the new and third mayor of Kota Kinabalu.

The announcement ended speculations as to who the new mayor would be should Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim’s tenure not be extended.

There had been requests from the Chinese business community for the state government to consider appointing a Chinese as mayor and similar requests from the KadazanDusun Murut community that an individual of their ethnicity be considered.

Iliyas whose term ends on Feb 2, has served three terms as City Hall mayor.

Musa in a statement yesterday said Madingkir, who is the Local Government and Housing Ministry’s permanent secretary, has vast experience in public service having held various senior government posts for a number of years.

“I am confident that Datuk Abidin will do a good job and raise the quality of living in Kota Kinabalu city,” he said.

Musa thanked Iliyas for a job well done during his three terms as mayor and added the latter had done well in improving the condition and landscape of the city.

Last week, word on the street indicated that Iliyas was likely to be reappointed to the post and sources, including those close to him, had claimed that Iliyas would be given another extension, although the latter had yet to receive any official letter on the reappointment from the Chief Minister’s office.

Iliyas himself had strongly indicated that he was looking forward to another term in office, should the government decide to keep him. He however denied having any knowledge on whether or not any decision had been made on his reappointment or even if he would be retained as the mayor at all.

“That I don’t know. It is up to the state government to decide what is the appropriate action to take,” he told reporters when met here yesterday.

Asked if he would accept should he be offered an extension, he said: “Of course. But this is not an issue of (looking for) extension, but about serving the people.”

Those calling for a Chinese to be appointed the next mayor had proposed City Hall director-general Datuk Yeo Boon Hai whom they felt was a suitable candidate for the job.

But Iliyas’ supporters have maintained he should be given another term to helm the City administration, citing his many contributions during his tenure.

Among them were seven Chinese Kapitans who had called for an extension to be given to Iliyas, stressing that the latter had displayed an excellent performance during the past two years.

Led by chairman of the Sabah Chinese Kapitans liaison-cum-welfare committee, Peter Chong Chin Hang, they urged the state government to take into consideration the significant improvement and changes Iliyas had brought to the city, especially in the three specific areas outlined in the mayor’s halatuju – cleanliness, beautification and safety.

They added Iliyas’ humble approach and willingness to accept constructive criticisms before taking immediate steps to address them had won the respect of the Chinese community, especially the business operators in the City.