MPs should show leadership during pandemic

It is time for leaders to show self-sacrifice and contribute to the people’s benefit, says Mohd Shafie

by AZREEN HANI / pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

IN EXTRAORDINARY times, it is reasonable to ask MPs and top management of government-linked companies (GLCs) to take a pay cut, said Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Mohd Shafie said it is time for leaders to show self-sacrifice and contribute to the people’s benefit.

“I think it’s not going to hurt anyone’s income by doing so. These leaders, be it from the Parliament or the GLCs, are not going to suffer the way most people are suffering.

“When I proposed the 30% pay cut, my honest thought was, why not?” Mohd Shafie said in a recent interview with The Malaysian Reserve.

“The 70 ministers and deputy ministers, and those enjoying overpaid salaries at GLCs and government-linked investment companies, they have to make sacrifices too. The rakyat is suffering, and therefore, everyone should share the sacrifice — leadership through example,” the Semporna MP added.

Mohd Shafie has not been the only MP to suggest their colleagues take pay cuts.

Former Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail have also proposed pay cuts for lawmakers.

Dr Mahathir already said he is willing to have 10% cut from his pension as long as it is used to help the people.

Mohd Shafie also said politicians must show good examples by cooperating fully in any investigations of wrongdoings. Touching on a recent controversy over a RM300 million loan to troubled AirAsia Group Bhd by Sabah Development Bank Bhd, Mohd Shafie said he had nothing to hide and will cooperate with any investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into the matter.

“I have nothing to hide. I am more than willing to help MACC with this matter, because the loan was given with full compliance of the rules and regulations,” he said.

He said the loan was part of a prudent plan to diversify the state’s transportation needs.

“From the state government’s point of view, we cannot rely on only one company to help with our distribution of goods,” Mohd Shafie said.

“AirAsia has been a supportive partner to Sabah, bringing in millions of tourists from the beginning, (disbursing the loan) is purely a business decision.” Mohd Shafie also defended his decision to call for the Sabah state election after an attempt was made to topple his administration.

The Sabah election has been blamed for the current third wave of Covid-19 in Malaysia.

“The decision to hold the Sabah election was made to give back the mandate to the people to decide, I stand by that.

“When it was called, you need to bear in mind that the authorities had said it was safe to conduct the election, as long as the SOPs (standard operating procedures) were adhered to.

“The Sabah poll was not the only one held during the pandemic. Put aside Singapore and South Korea, we had the Slim by-election just a month before that.

“Even then, I have discouraged people from the peninsula coming to campaign here. I even told Tun (Dr Mahathir) not to come,” he said.

Mohd Shafie, who is also Sabah assembly representative of Senallang, said now that the Batu Sapi by-election has been postponed under emergency rules, people need to be told the time frame under which those rules apply.

“Warisan also hopes that during this emergency period, the government guarantees that the welfare of every citizen in Batu Sapi, especially food aid and daily necessities, will always be given priority,” he said.

On Wednesday, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a Proclamation of Emergency for Batu Sapi, effectively cancelling the by-election for the parliamentary seat.

Mohd Shafie said Warisan is ready for any contest, but expressed gratitude towards Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan for saying that the party will give way for Warisan on the seat.


Read our earlier report

 

MPs chairing GLCs urged to take 50% fee cut