‘Harris contradicting own book’

(Daily Express) – Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh must have been mistaken when he stated that Datuk Yong Teck Lee was responsible for taking away the Sabah Foundation shares during his tenure as the Sabah Barisan Chief Minister.

Yong, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President, said Harris’ statement in the Daily Express on Saturday was inaccurate as the Sabah Foundation shares were, in fact, withdrawn by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) administration in 1990 just prior to the State elections that year.

The Sabah Foundation shares were replaced by the Amanah Rakyat Negeri Sabah (ARNS).

“I now produce the book published by Harris in 1996 whereby Harris wrote that it was the PBS government who withdrew the (YS) share certificates.

“This fact was stated three times in the same book. So, Harris cannot claim that he is not aware that it was not me, as Chief Minster from 28th May 1996 to 27th May, 1998, but it was PBS, in 1990, who withdrew the YS shares.

“At the time, before the State elections of 1990, I was an Assistant Minister, not even a full Cabinet Minister,” he told reporters here Saturday.

The ARNS, he said was a new Fund set up under the Amanah Rakyat Negeri Sabah Enactment 1990, passed by the Legislative Assembly on March 15, 1990 and assented to by the Head of State on March 31, 1990.

“It was this ARNS that disbursed the RM200 to each Sabah Foundation beneficiary using the Yayasan Sabah management and network.

“For the information of the public, the accounts of the ARNS distribution of RM200 per head, the accounts could not be audited.

“As far as I can recall, the Cabinet in about 1997 (when I was CM) was informed that there were audit queries over missing monies and possible fraudulent payments to unqualified or non-existent persons,” he said.

“I had asked Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation) management to lodge police reports. Whatever is the status of the ARNS and YS share certificates today, I trust that the current administration can satisfy public curiosity. I can only answer for things done by me as Chief Minister,” he said.

Yong said in the past, he did not bother about political lies being spread about him such as the Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) issue, the approvals of the 65,000 acres Begaraya land in Pitas and the Tanjung Aru government quarters land to private companies.

“In the Internet and coffee shops, lies were spread against me for so long that the lies were taken as complete truths. But as wisdom goes, real gold is not afraid of fire and paper cannot cover fire.

“So, now, finally we are beginning to see the end of the falsehood about SAS against me even though the BN government and their PBS cohorts refuse to reveal the truths to the people.

“The people who know the truths about SAS are still in the Sabah Cabinet.

For instance, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai.

“I have said this several times and Dr Yee never denied his guilt.

If he does deny, then he should sue me for calling him a big liar,” he said.

“The high profile contests by villagers over the Begaraya land have led to the government revealing that the approval for the Begaraya land was given on March 19, 1996; two months before I became Chief Minister under the rotation system at the time.

“Then, recently, a court case has allowed the exposure that the Tanjong Aru land approval to a private company was given on May 25, 1996, two days before I became Chief Minister on May 28, 1996.

“I do not wish to speculate on the timing and urgency of the approvals by my precedessor, before the power of approval was transferred to the Cabinet on June 17, 1996,” he said.