KUNDASANG: Siriman Bashir, a former Tenom District Officer has stepped forward to admit that he was once directed to prevent Shafie Apdal from attending a briefing at the Tenom District Office ‘kerana arahan dari atas’ (on orders of his superiors).
Siriman said before Shafie’s arrival at the Tenom District Office, he received a call from his superiors in Kota Kinabalu informing him that he was not to conduct any briefing at the District Office.
“Datuk Seri (Shafie), I was the one who was told to prevent you from getting a briefing on Tenom’s rural development programmes despite the fact you were the (federal) minister of KKLW,” Siriman said in a statement on Sunday.
“I received orders from my superiors who were acting on orders from someone higher than them, but nevertheless, the briefing was still carried out, at the Umno Tenom office.”
Siriman, who is the Parti Warisan Sabah candidate for Kundasang, disclosed this at a meet-the-people gathering in Lohan, Ranau, in the presence of Shafie a few weeks ago, and apologised for what had happened.
On Sunday, he said he needed to issue the statement to put things right, as Musa Aman the caretaker Sabah chief minister claimed Shafie had not told the truth when he said he was denied the opportunity of meeting local state officials.
Musa, when speaking in Tongod on Saturday claimed he never stopped Shafie as he wanted to see “greater development in Sabah,” while adding that he wanted to work to provide better infrastructure and basic utilities, such as water and electricity as well as roads, especially in the rural areas.
Shafie, who is Parti Warisan Sabah president, has alleged in his speeches during his statewide tour of Sabah, that Musa had prevented him from being briefed by Sabah District Officers as well as district engineers and heads of the district public works department.
According to Siriman, although the order to bar Shafie from getting a briefing at the Tenom District office did not come from Musa himself, the people could come to their own judgment as to who was behind the order.
“Datuk Seri (Shafie), I had no choice but to follow orders though fortunately we held that briefing at the Umno office instead, and for that I apologise,” said Siriman.
A bitter personal feud between the two political foes, Musa and Shafie, has erupted as campaigning for GE14 nears the end and the two arch-rivals have been sparring publicly in a war of words.
Musa accused Shafie of spreading untruths and covering up his own failure to deliver on his promises to Sabah when he was the Rural and Regional Development Minister, while Shafie retorted that it was Musa who had stopped him from carrying out his duties.
Shafie said nevertheless, while he was the KKLW minister, funds had been allocated for rural projects in Sabah.
He has often said the people of Sabah would be the best judge of whether he had done his job as a federal minister, or whether they would believe that Musa had done a great job of developing Sabah over the last 15 years.
Shafie said as far as he was concerned, even the area of Libaran, where Musa is Umno division head as well as Sibuga assemblyman (which comes under Libaran) does not have 100 per cent treated water supply and other basic infrastructure.
“Musa has failed in his duty as the chief minister and now he tries to deflect the attention by putting the blame on me. When anything goes wrong, Shafie is at fault.
“Musa thinks he is the only one capable of running the state, but I want to say that it is not true. There are others who can and will do a better job,” Shafie added.