Tuesday, August 20

Abdul Karim brushes off talk of becoming Second Finance Minister after Soon Koh quits

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Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

KUCHING: Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today played down speculation that he could be appointed as the new Second Finance Minister after Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh announced his decision to quit his cabinet posts.

Responding to a news report on the possible appointment, Abdul Karim, a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu vice president, told The Borneo Post that he was “happy where he is now” as Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sport Minister.

He also said he did not expect Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to carry out a major cabinet reshuffle following Wong’s exit.

“The right honorable CM may make a minor reshuffle of his Cabinet, prerogative is purely his. I don’t foresee a major reshuffle but I believe there might be some new faces,” the Asajaya assemblyman said via WhatsApp.

Wong, who is also International Trade and E-Commerce Minister, told a press conference yesterday that his mind was made up on resigning from the state cabinet but it would only come into effect after he has met Johari to personally hand over his resignation letter.

The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president had told his party’s Annual Delegates Conference on Saturday that he no longer has the locus standi to remain in the Cabinet because PSB leaders were excluded from the latest councillors’ list, the state statutory bodies and as community leaders.

He also said elected representatives from PSB had been deprived of Minor Rural Project and Rural Transformation Programme funds in the millions of ringgit since March or April this year.

Abdul Karim today said Wong had made an honourable move by resigning from the cabinet and his absence would be felt.

“His absence as a Cabinet member will definitely be missed. He is a seasoned, articulate, soft spoken politician and has never shown disloyalty to any of the CMs and state government of the day that he served.

“I wish him well and hope that he will stay strong in fighting for our beloved State in the capacity he is in now,” said Abdul Karim.