KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal said his statement at the State Legislative Assembly, urging less dependence on the government, had been misinterpreted on social media.
He explained that he was speaking on the topic of financial assistance for business operators, including farmers and fishermen at the Sabah Credit Corporation.
He said that the financial assistance was rendered without any interest.
Nevertheless, he urged the business operators not to be overly dependent on the government because it is the aim of the government to church business folks who are resilient and independent.
“But this was misinterpreted and some are saying that the State government is not caring and does not look after the welfare of the people,” he said.
He said that the State government is the opposite of the misinterpretation.
“We look after (the people). There are no other states (in the country) that has allocated RM553 million to help her people. No other states have acted swiftly (when the disease was first detected in Wuhan).
Although tourism went down, the State government thought about the lives of the people. My people’s (well being) is more important than the tourism sector,” he said.
He added that he had also instructed that all foreign workers in Sabah to be screened by the Health Department to ensure what is happening in Singapore now is not going to happen in Sabah.
He reminded that Sabah is dependent on foreign labour for various sectors of the economy, hence the importance of ensuring their well being as well.
He also reminded all the assistance that had been rendered by the State government – the electricity and water bills exemption, not to mention financial aid that had been channeled to all those in need.
“Our approach has been comprehensive”.
“Although our financial capacity is limited — the government is not a bank but we want to look after the future and well-being of the people and of our state,” he said.
He said that not all the people in Sabah were registered with the Inland Revenue and E-kasih, hence another approach had to be considered to ensure the assistance reached those in need.
Shafie also expressed his longing to go home to Semporna.
But due to Covid-19, he is unable to.
He also said that he must abide by the Movement Control Order (MCO) and set a positive example to the people.
“Otherwise, the people will think why are the ordinary folks arrested and not him when he meets people on the ground,” he said.
“I want to ensure the people’s lives are looked after.”