Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yong Denies Being Offered DPM's Post

KOTA KINABALU, June 21 (Bernama)

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee has described Umno Youth vice chief Khairy Jamaluddin's inkling of him being offered the deputy prime minister's post as absurd.

"I don't dream of becoming Deputy Prime Minister. Perhaps, because I was loud in voicing out issues affecting Sabah he can say anything, talking like an insane man.

"If not because superb victories of Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN)... BN would have fallen in the last election. So, what's wrong with us asking for little attention.

"Khairy is a young man. He has to learn a lot," Yong said during a meet-the-people function at the Likas multipurpose hall near here Saturday.

Khairy said Friday that Yong's criticism of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was believed due to him being taken in by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's offer.

He said he was made to understand that Yong would be appointed to the number two post in government if Anwar who is former deputy prime minister, became Prime Minister.

Yong said he was not greedy pursuing for posts in government.

"I was offered senatorship and become Special Envoy to Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) but I did not accept it because I saw it as a political bribe so that I stop raising Sabah issues.

"Had I accepted the post... I would have gained but what I am championing are the interests of the Sabah people and state and not for personal sake," he said.

Yong said the attempt by certain parties to use the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to "intimidate" him so that he abandon his fight for the Sabah people was a political threat.

"Even if I were to be imprisoned, many other Sabah leaders can continue the struggle for Sabah people," he said.

Friday, ACA Director-General Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said the agency would investigate the SAPP president in connection with graft totalling RM5 million allegedly occurring when he was Sabah Chief Minister.

On "political autonomy", Yong said Sabah had the right for it to reduce federal government's intervention in state administration.

"Presently... the appointment of the chief minister, ministers even BN candidates are all decided in Kuala Lumpur... everything referred to Kuala Lumpur.

"So, the time has come for Sabah to be given political autonomy so that what was provided under the constitution is decided by the Sabah people themselves," he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Yong said SAPP would undergo a rebranding exercise to strengthen the party including its membership.

"Some people perceive SAPP as a party representing the Chinese. Actually, SAPP is multiracial and this is why we are carrying out rebranding," he said.

He also said SAPP would hold briefing sessions on current issues statewide from Saturday.

Asked whether SAPP would take action on its deputy president, Datuk Raymond Tan, who disagreed with the decision of the party's Supreme Council on moving a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister, Yong said it would not.

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