KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor unveiled a new Cabinet on Wednesday (Jan 11), with former deputy chief minister Bung Moktar Radin dropped from the line-up.
Last week, Mr Bung Moktar, who is also Sabah’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) chief, pulled the party’s state assemblymen from the 27-month-old coalition government. This led to the collapse of the state government led by the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition.
“With the realisation for the need of an inclusive administration, I have included assemblymen from Pakatan Harapan (PH) into the Cabinet, in addition to representatives from UMNO/Barisan Nasional (BN) and GRS,” said Mr Hajiji in a statement.
In the new line-up, Mr Hajiji included three deputy chief ministers - Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku’s (STAR) Dr Jeffrey G. Kitingan, Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) Dr Joachim Gunsalam and BN's Mr Shahelmey Yahya.
Mr Shahelmey was one of five assemblymen from BN who had previously broken ranks and publicly announced their support for Mr Hajiji.
The swearing-in of three new ministers - two from PH and the other from BN - took place at Istana Seri Kinabalu on Wednesday morning, Bernama reported.
The GRS chairman said that the Cabinet reshuffle was needed to further strengthen the state government.
He added: “It is important for the state government under my leadership to function as a united team, sharing similar aspirations that are built upon a foundation of trust and respect.”
Mr Hajiji said the state government is determined to have leaders who will ensure that the development of the state continues on without any interference.
He added that political stability is important to “reach this goal”.
“We have to ensure that our momentum development continues forward in order to fulfill the promises we made during the election to the people and the state,” said Mr Hajiji.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had on Monday given his blessings to Mr Hajiji to remain as Sabah’s chief minister.
Mr Anwar told the media then that he wants the Sabah state government to remain strong under Mr Hajiji’s leadership.
He was quoted by Malaysian media as saying that he and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had given their views on the political situation in the Borneo state.
It was also previously reported that Mr Anwar had mooted the idea of a unity government to be formed in the state.
On Tuesday, Mr Bung Moktar and Parti Warisan president Shafie Apdal both declared their support for the prime minister’s suggestion of a unity government to be formed in the state.