Tuesday, June 15

Pang Yuk Ming, Edward Yong, Jainab, Limus in contention for Sabah minister posts


KOTA KINABALU: Speculation is rife over the line-up of Sabah’s new state cabinet, with local political analysts predicting the appointment of at least four new ministers, one each from Umno, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and United Pasok Momogun KadazanDusun Murut Organisation (Upko).

Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who was sworn in as chief minister on Monday, is expected to unveil the new state cabinet line-up in the next few days.

Musa led the Sabah BN to victory in the just-concluded 13th General Election (GE13) that saw the BN retain power with a two-thirds majority, securing 48 of the 60 seats in the state legislative assembly.

The opposition won 12 seats compared to three in 2008.

Before GE13, there were six ministers from Umno (including the chief minister who also held the finance minister portfolio) in the state cabinet, two ministers from PBS, two from Gerakan and one from Upko.

It is reliably learnt that aside from Gerakan vice-president Datuk Raymond Tan, a member of the state cabinet in the previous BN government, PBS vice-president Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) vice-president Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, both former assistant ministers, are tipped to be promoted to full ministers for the Chinese slots.

However, Tanjung Kapor assemblyman Datuk Teo Chee Kang and Karamunting assemblyman Charles O Pang Su Pin from LDP and Elopura assemblyman Au Kam Wah from Gerakan are still very much in contention for the full minister or assistant minister posts.

The Sabah government line-up comprises three deputy chief ministers representing Kadazandusun, Chinese and Malay Bumiputera community, to reflect Barisan Nasional’s power-sharing concept among the three main races in the state.

Political analyst Salman Nurillah has predicted that with the defeat of former deputy chief minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, who lost in the Api-Api state seat, the tussle for Chinese allocated deputy chief minister’s (DCM) post would probably be between the experienced Raymond Tan (Gerakan) and Pang Yuk Ming (LDP).

“This is yet another tricky position for our chief minister. LDP won all three original seats allocated to the Sabah-based party and at the same time, seasoned politician Raymond Tan had held the DCM post in the past,” he told Bernama yesterday.

Salman, a former civil servant with a law degree from Universiti Malaya and a Master’s degree from UiTM, also speculated that either state assemblyman for Karambunai Datuk Jainab Ahmad or Apas assemblyman Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, both former assistant ministers, would be promoted to replace Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, the MP for Beaufort.

When contacted, Jainab said she was ready to shoulder the responsibility and serve the people.

Nevertheless, she said she would rather leave it to the wisdom of the chief minister to decide on the matter.

According to a source from Upko, at least three names — Nabawan state assemblyman Datuk Bobbey Suan, assemblyman for Paginatan Datuk Siringan Gubat and new assemblyman for Kuala Penyu, Limus Jury — were mentioned to be in the running for a state cabinet post, replacing Ranau MP Datuk Ewon Ebin, who is former state assemblyman for Paginatan.

As of today, it is unclear whether there will be a swap of assignment for former deputy chief minister (Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin) and Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who won the Usukan state seat, in the new state cabinet line-up.

Meanwhile, the Kiulu assemblyman, who is also Sabah Journalists Association president Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Kundasangan assemblyman Joachim Gunsalam, Tandek assemblyman Anita Baranting of PBS are among the potential candidates for the assistant minister posts. — Bernama