PENAMPANG: The incoming President of United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) Datuk Ewon Benedick has come out to defend former state cabinet colleagues under the then Warisan-PH-Upko government.
“Datuk Shafie Apdal is being unfair to put a blame to Datuk Christina Liew and YB Phoong Jin Zhe on the pursuit of Sabah interests to their national leaders.
“I am very sure that discussion among state DAP and PKR leaders to their national leaders have in fact taken place. The late Datuk Stephen Wong being the then state DAP chief and a state cabinet has constantly and strongly pursuing Sabah interests to DAP national leaders who are sitting in the federal cabinet. I have also witnessed YB Phoong Zin Jhe and YB Chan Foong Hin pursuing Sabah interests passionately to their national leaders.
“Shafie, being the CM, has all the official platform to pursue Sabah rights and interest. He sat in the special committee on Sabah – Sarawak which was chaired by Tun Mahathir being the Prime Minister, he also sat in the Majlis Menteri-Menteri Besar/Ketua-Ketua Menteri, Majlis Kewangan Negara and accompanying the state Governor in the Majlis Raja-Raja. He is also a member of parliament.
“Those were official avenues to pursue Sabah rights and interests apart. Anybody can question whether Sabah rights were really pursued in these avenues? To me, it is just being unfair to put a blame to cabinet members who have only party platforms but not on government official avenues.
“Warisan was also represented in the federal government, they have 3 ministers then. Personally i knew they have done their their part, but Shafie is just being unfair to Christina, Phoong and Chan,” says Ewon.
On saturday, the Parti Warisan president went on the offensive against Sabah Pakatan Harapan, claiming DAP and PKR had failed to protect the rights of Sabahans when they were in power.
He singled out the then Sabah PKR Chief cum Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew and DAP leader cum Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe as well as Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin.