PETALING JAYA: Former Sabah chief minister Sakaran Dandai has paid tribute to Musa Aman for courageously rejecting a state government-endorsed proposal in 1996 involving Yayasan Sabah while the Umno strongman was the deputy chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees.

Amid renewed claims by the opposition that Musa, who is the present chief minister, had abused his Yayasan Sabah position, Sakaran said he felt compelled to put his recollections on the matter on record.
It was reported that North Borneo Timbers Bhd (NBT), a public-listed company in which Shafie Apdal was chairman, had secured a RM350 million deal for Yayasan Sabah’s investment vehicle, Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd’s (ICSB) timber concessions.
Shafie, a former federal minister is now leading Parti Warisan Sabah. Musa called off the controversial deal between ICSB and NBT.

“I remember Musa advised me not to chair the meeting because my nephew, Shafie, was involved in the deal and hence there would be a conflict of interest,” said Sakaran.
“I understand the proposal was rejected by Musa because it would have been detrimental to Yayasan Sabah as a whole.”
Sakaran said in hindsight, Musa “single-handedly” did a very courageous thing by repeatedly rejecting the deal in spite of it being endorsed by the state cabinet.
“I accepted the decision of the board of trustees, as the final custodian of the assets of Yayasan Sabah, to reject the proposal.”
Sakaran said Yayasan Sabah is an institution that has assisted thousands of Sabahans and should never be placed at a disadvantage now or in the future.
Former Yayasan Sabah deputy director Tengku Zainal Adlin and former CEO of ICSB, Abdul Kadir Damsal, had said Musa had helped save the state from the potentially bad deal, which would have seen Sabah’s forest reserves lost.
“Musa deserves more credit than what we give him for this act of bravery.

“Acting on his conscience and seeing that he needed federal backing, he got the relevant authorisation and stopped the deal.
“It will not be wrong to say that Yayasan Sabah may not exist today if the deal had gone through because it would have been unable to fulfil the very purpose for which it was set up by then CM Datu Mustapha in 1967,” they were quoted as saying by the Sabah-based daily, Daily Express.
“If the deal had not been called off, technically all of Sabah’s forest concessions would have been controlled by NBT for a mere RM350 million.
“The efforts that went into stopping the deal was like a real drama,” Tengku Adlin told the newspaper