There is no fighting, GRS relationship is intact – Hajiji

KUDAT: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor dispelled rumours that his relationship with Umno Sabah chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and other top leadership of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) has gone sour.
“I will state it clearly, as Datuk Bung is here, that we have never fought (with each other). There has never been a misunderstanding despite what other people are saying about us,” he said when closing the GRS Back Benchers Club retreat at the Kudat Golf and Marina Resort here on Saturday night.
“As a matter of fact, my relationship with Datuk Bung (and for that matter with) Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS president) and Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Star president) is very cordial and cannot be any stronger,” he said met with applaud from the floor.
“Even though we are from different parties, we hold steadfast to the GRS pledge. With this (clarification) I hope there will be no more talks that Hajiji is not on good terms with Bung or Dr Max and Dr Jeffrey.
Hajiji who is chairman of GRS disclosed that he had always been in contact with Bung.
“I have spoken to Datuk Bung that we need to protect the mandate given by the rakyat to GRS. We have less than four years before it is time for elections so what we need to do is to work hard to bring progress to the people and Sabah,” he said.
The Sabah Bersatu chief said he understood that he would not be the Chief Minister without solid support from the various parties in GRS.
“I understand this. Therefore we have to work hard for the people. There is also no need to squabble for seats. We can resolve this by looking at each party’s strength. If a party is strong in a particular area then it will be given the seat,” he said.
On the Bugaya state by-election, Hajiji said the matter of candidacy would be discussed among the GRS leaders to find an amicable solution once the emergency order on the by-election is lifted.
On the issue of formalising the GRS alliance, he said he has no qualms if the matter was agreed upon by all the components in the GRS.
“If this is what everyone wished for then I will make the effort to see to it that GRS will be registered officially,” he said.
Hajiji also believed that by registering GRS as an official alliance it will further bolster the relationship and unity of its components.
Currently, GRS is a loose coalition between Perikatan Nasional (Bersatu Sabah, Star, SAPP, PAS and Gerakan), Barisan Nasional (Umno, PBRS, MIC and MCA) and Parti Bersatu Sabah.
Earlier, Hajiji said GRS comprising of Umno, Star, PBS and Bersatu won the state elections and combining the strength of three Independents brought the total to 41 out of the 73 seats to topple Warisan Plus (Warisan, Upko and DAP) which won 32 seats.
After forming the State Government, GRS obtained an additional six seats via the appointment of six nominated assemblymen and subsequently, five opposition assemblymen joined GRS bringing the total seats tally to 52.
“This is proof that the people are now more confident with the GRS State Government,” he said.
He admitted that the GRS State Government had faced an uphill task at the start of its administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic and political uncertainty at the Federal level.
Restrictions on holding public events including official government functions imposed by the Movement Control Order (MCO) meant that the newly formed GRS State Government was unable to go to the ground to meet with the people, he said.
Despite the challenges, he said the GRS State Government continued to do its work to chart the path to progress for Sabah and the people through the formulation of the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ), which was based on the GRS Aku Janji (I Pledge) and election manifesto.
“There are more than 500 initiatives in the Hala Tuju SMJ 1.0. The secretariat is headed by the State Secretary and assisted by the State Public Service Department as well as the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN),” he said.
Through the SMJ, Hajiji said the GRS State Government had already achieved several important milestones such as getting an annual payment of the five per cent State Sales Tax on petroleum from Petronas, amendment on the Federal Constitution on matters related to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, signing of the Commercial Collaboration Agreement with Petronas, attracting major investors to Sabah as well as last year’s all- time biggest revenue of RM5.3 billion.
The Chief Minister said he would look into the resolutions from the retreat for consideration.
“If our state coffers and revenue continue to improve, God willing we will increase the ADUN allocation (from RM2 million) to RM3 million,” he said, adding that a Cabinet paper is also expected to be tabled by the Finance Ministry to increase the state elected representatives’ allowance.
Also present were GRS Back Bencher Club Chairman, Datuk Seri Panglima Salleh Tun Said, Special Tasks Minister Datuk Arifin Arif, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Yakub Khan and Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Shahelmey Yahya.


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