Sabah gets seven deputy ministers

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah political parties part of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government got seven deputy minister posts after earlier grumbling that it had been shortchanged in the Cabinet with only two full ministers.

However, this time Parti Warisan and Sabah Barisan Nasional were slotted in the deputy minister line-up after both parties were left out in the Cabinet announcement last week.

Sabah Barisan got three deputy ministers, Sabah Pakatan got two while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Warisan one each.

Among Sabah Barisan’s Umno MPs to be picked as deputy ministers were Beaufort MP Datuk Siti Aminah Aching (Plantation and Commodities Ministry) and Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin (Foreign Ministry) as well as Pensiangan MP Datuk Arthur Kurup (Science Technology and Innovation Ministry), who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president.

Two others were from Sabah Pakatan – DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin (Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry) and PKR’s Sepanggar MP Mustapha Sakmud (Human Resources Ministry).

GRS’ Batu Sapi MP Khairul Firdaus Akbarkhan was appointed as Tourism, Culture and Arts Deputy Minister. Khairul is Sabah Bersatu information chief.

Warisan’s Lahad Datu MP Datuk Yusof Apdal was named Higher Education Deputy Minister.

Sabah Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal could not be reached for immediate comment on the appointments of their MPs.

With only two ministers from Sabah named in Anwar’s Cabinet, Bung had contended that Sabah was under-represented in the federal Cabinet as a total of 24 of the 25 state MPs were in support of the unity government.

When contacted, Mohamad said that he was surprised to be named as Deputy Foreign Minister.

“It is quite challenging and a totally new area for me, but I have to learn. I think I will learn from my minister Datuk Seri Zambri Abdul Kadir,” said Mohamad, who was previously a deputy education minister.

The other newly appointed deputy ministers from Sabah could not immediately be contacted for comments.