Shafie Connects With People, Warisan Tells PBS

PENAMPANG: A personal touch – that’s the glaring difference between caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and his predecessor Tan Sri Musa Aman.

Parti Warisan Sabah which pointed this out today said this was why Shafie had been personally going to the ground – since last year – to give long-awaited land titles to villagers in the state.

Its treasurer-general Terrence Siambun said it was therefore infantile of PBS secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim to accuse Shafie of fishing for votes ahead of the state election.

PBS has clearly run out of ideas, he said in a statement after Jahid had cast aspersions on the Warisan president.

“Perhaps Jahid doesn’t read the newspapers hence he has a limited knowledge of current happenings in Sabah.

“If he did, then he would have known that the distribution of land titles by Shafie personally to villagers had been on-going since last year.”

Towards this end Siambun said it must be remembered that these villagers had been denied of their rights to own land for 20 to 30 years now.

“Shafie is very much connected with the ordinary and poor villagers in Sabah and will go to great lengths to sit down and talk with them personally to know how they’re doing and their difficulties.

“Hence, this is the reason why he takes the trouble to hand over the land titles to the villagers all over Sabah because the sheer joy and happiness from these people upon receiving the land titles gives him the strength to continue fighting for them.”

“Now compare this with Musa … how many ordinary and poor villagers ever managed to communicate with him in a personal way?” he asked.

Siambun also said that no one could claim that the idea of issuing land titles belonged to any leader or party.

“Jahid said that it was Musa’s idea to come out with Pantas to expedite the issuance of land titles but I beg to differ.

It was ordinary villagers all over Sabah who stood up in anger after being denied of their right to own land for so long, he said, adding that PBS and Musa had failed to address their plight.

“And it was much more insulting when giant companies from Malaya got their applications for thousands of hectares of Sabah land approved in the blink of an eye while ordinary Sabahans were given the controversial communal land titles.”

“Who was the Chief Minister at that time?” he asked.

Siambun also said that Jahid’s suggestion that Shafie should be investigated by the Election Commission proved that Jahid was clueless about what was happening around him.

“How can Jahid say that Shafie is fishing for votes when the same process of handing over land titles has also been taking place in Sarawak since last year?

“In fact, the Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan had just last month handed over land titles to villagers in Kampung Pueh, Sematan and I am sure more similar events will be held in the future despite the Sarawak State Election expected this year.

“If such an act constitutes the offence of vote-buying as Jahid claims, with more Covid-19 cases happening in Sarawak, why then are the top opposition leaders in Sarawak silent about it?”

He advised Jahid to be a responsible opposition leader, saying in this era of connectivity and information, it is difficult to mislead Sabahans.