Don’t Let Our Politics Separate Us, Says Shafie

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has called on the federal government to not allow politics get in the way of nation-building.

“Although we are separated by the South China Sea, don’t let our politics separate us,” he said while on a working trip to Keningau today.

“Put politics aside because we want to build this nation we call Malaysia.”

Shafie was reacting to the education authorities dropping him as the guest of honour at the state-level Teachers Day celebration here today.

He was replaced by the Sabah Federal Secretary and the eleventh hour change was seen as the result of political interference from Kuala Lumpur.

This came to be despite the state extending assistance including funding to schools for the building of hostels and flood relief assistance among other things.

“We even approved face masks and sanitisers to all 221 government schools and 15 private schools in Sabah.

“So they invited me to launch the Teachers Day and I agreed but I was told yesterday evening that I could not attend,” he said.

“But it’s okay, there’s no need to make the issue bigger. It’s their right to invite me or not.”

Shafie who took the whole episode in his stride pointed out that it was important to have government-to-government relations despite Sabah being in opposition to the Perikatan Nasional federal government politically.

To illustrate his point, the Chief Minister said the federal government would need the cooperation of the state government in matters such as land.

“I’m confident the Education Ministry needs land just like the police, army, hospitals and even federal buildings. The land belongs to the state.”

Shafie asked how land, in this instance, could be made available if there were no ties between both governments.