ANN/THE STAR – The new Sabah Cabinet met yesterday after a reshuffle which saw the appointment of three new ministers and exchanges of portfolios between several others.
Chief Minister Hajiji Noor chaired the Cabinet meeting, which is the first following the Sabah political crisis which unfolded some two weeks ago, at Menara Kinabalu.
The new ministers – James Ratib (Community Development and People’s Well- being), Christina Liew (Tourism, Culture and Environment) and Phoong Jin Zhe (Industrial Development) – were sworn in on January 11.
Meanwhile Shahelmey Yahya attended the meeting for the first time as Deputy Chief Minister III. He also holds the Works Minister’s portfolio.
The Chief Minister also welcomed back Rural Development Minister Jahid Jahim who had been on medical leave since last year.
Other ministers in attendance were Deputy Chief Minister I – Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also the state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr Joachim Gunsalam (Local Government and Housing), Finance Minister Masidi Manjun as well as Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Mohd Arifin Arif and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ellron Angin.
Also present was state Secretary Sr Safar Untong.
The political crisis was triggered after Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN)- United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) withdrew support for the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government on January 6.
There was a possibility that Parti Warisan, with its 19 assemblymen and the 17 Sabah BN reps working with smaller parties could have unseated the Hajiji-led government.
However, GRS managed to muster the support of 44 assemblymen.
These include five Sabah UMNO assemblymen, who went against the move by Sabah UMNO chief Bung Moktar Radin, and seven Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) representatives.