KOTA KINABALU: The Parti Warisan Sabah-led government’s first State Budget which will be tabled today will be a people-centric budget, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal.
“It is a people’s budget. We always think of the people and we want to ensure we champion the people as well as we can, although we do understand the financial shortage (we’re facing),” he said to media members after receiving the Sabah Budget from the Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Datuk Pg Hassanel Pg Mohd Tahir, at his office yesterday.
Although refusing to divulge more information, he provided some glimpse as to what people can expect from the upcoming budget, one of which is that it has taken a new approach with regards to youths in Sabah.
He added that people can also expect some surprise factors tomorrow.
The budget will be the first Warisan-led government budget that will be tabled.
“We hope we have covered all based on our limited financial resources, the challenging world and country’s economy. Hopefully we have covered people of all levels, although we know we may not be able to do that, but our hope is to strengthen the economy,” he said.
As to whether the budget would be a surplus budget, Shafie simply said “Wait and see”.
Meanwhile, Shafie hoped he can finally focus on developing Sabah and improve the financial status of the state after the court ruled that he is the legitimate Sabah Chief Minister on November 7.
“I hope the people at all levels can start focusing on developing Sabah and improving her financial economy, that is the way forward.
We don’t want there to be any uncertainties,” he said when asked about the verdict of the High Court on November 7 rejecting former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman’s application to be restored as the Chief Minister and allowing Shafie to continue leading Sabah.
Shafie also pleaded for politicking to cease, citing that the election was already over and we should now accept reality.
“What is important to us is to develop Sabah and champion the people. This is the main focus. We all know our respective rights and we should use the rule of law,” he said.
Shafie was also asked to comment on speculation that some members of his government were planning to leap over to the opposition.
“That is their speculation. But as for now, many are still with me,” he said.
Shafie reckoned that perhaps money was involved although cited that he was unsure if this was the case. Nevertheless, he expressed confidence on the stand of his members, asserting the belief that they are matured enough.
“I was made to understand that a lot of money was in play, but had no idea where the money could have come from,” he said.
Shafie was also asked about Musa’s intending appeal to the court over its ruling, to which he replied, “Itu hal dia (that is his problem).”
He stressed that his focus now was to run the state.
“Let me focus on developing the state of Sabah and defend the people of Sabah,” he said.
Shafie also commented on the move to declare the assets of members of parliament, citing that Sabah will look into this aspect because he felt it was crucial for them to be transparent.
“But, what is important now is to make sure that Sabah is developed and the poor people are helped. We don’t want corruption, so we know where they started (from), and in the five-year period, if they move to a new and bigger house, then you know,” he said.