8th April, 2008.. Sabah Times
KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he will consider the request from Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional to increase the number of ministers from the two states in Federal Cabinet.
“They want more ministers and I said to them I am studying their requests but it may take some time. The fact is that it (request) is being looked into,” he told a press conference after an eight-hour marathon meeting of Sabah Umno and BN leaders here yesterday. Abdullah who is also BN chairman said the participation of Sabah elected representatives in politics and administration at the federal level was the ‘dominant issue’ at the meeting.
Abdullah also said as the development in Sabah would be further intensified it was appropriate to give Sabah leaders a bigger role at the federal level. Asked on the possibility of setting up a special ministry for Sabah affairs, he said it was also discussed “but we have not put it into specifics yet”. “This has to be studied as it could duplicate the functions of other ministries like the Education Ministry, Rural Development Ministry and Works Ministry,” he explained.
“I have to study carefully whether we need a ministry for Sabah affairs. If we have a ministry for Sabah affairs, it would become too general,” he explained. On whether he had decided to fill the two vacant posts of Deputy Minister, Abdullah said there was no decision yet and that he would discuss the matter with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.
The two posts (Deputy Transport Minister and Deputy Human Resource Development Minister) fell vacant after Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman declined to accept the appointment and following the recent resignation of Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh. Abdullah also said he received the full support of the Sabah leaders to lead the BN.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister met Sabah Umno leaders before individually meeting with the presidents of Parti Bersatu Sabah (Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan), Sabah Progressive Party (Datuk Yong Teck Lee),UPKO (Tan Sri Bernard Dompok), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (Tan Sri Joseph Kurup) and Liberal Democratic Party (Datuk VK Liew).
He also met Sabah MCA chief Datuk Edward Khoo, Sabah MIC chief Datuk V. Jothi and Sabah Gerakan chief Datuk Robin Loh