CHAIRS.....Najib who is also Umno President chairs the meeting with the Sabah Umno Liaison Committee. Next to him is Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman.
By : JESSIEANNE JOANNES
KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived in Sabah Wednesday, for a two-day working visit. Uppermost in his mind must be the ‘hot’ seats of Beaufort and Tuaran – once BN strongholds-turned-opposition with the defection of its incumbent MPs.
He has functions to officiate at both Beaufort and Tuaran where Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders have arranged for a show-of-force by the local folks and this will be followed by meetings with Sabah BN component party leaders.
In what is widely seen as Najib’s last visit to Sabah before he dissolves Parliament to make way for the 13th general election, several thorny issues – among them seats once held by the SAPP and also one by the LDP – has to be ironed out.
Najib also has to ‘cool down’ Sabah UMNO warlords who are said to be among those not on the candidate list while other leaders who now are MPs may find themselves ‘transferred’ to contest state seats instead.
Accompanied by wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Najib touched down at the Kota Kinabalu Terminal Two Airport in Tanjung Aru at 6.50pm.
They were warmly greeted by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and his entire cabinet ministers and hundreds of Barisan Nasional supporters at the airport.
The couple was greeted with thunderous applause as they walked out of the aircraft.
Najib also extended warm greetings and handshakes with well-wishers as he walked on the red carpet to the waiting vehicle before rushing to the Umno Building in Karamunsing for a meeting with the Sabah Umno leaders.
Najib’s attention would be mainly Beaufort and Tuaran, two Parliamentary seats that belonged to Barisan Nasional until recently when Umno supreme council member Datuk Lajim Ukin of Beaufort and Upko deputy president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing of Tuaran ditched the coalition.
The two turncoat MPs formed two NGOs aligned to Pakatan Rakyat and are likely to re-contest their seats under the PKR ticket.
Although the two claim they are dissatisfied with the Sabah leadership, the popular notion among Barisan is that they “leap-frogged” out of the coalition because they were unlikely to be fielded in the 13th general election.
The Prime Minister will be in Beaufort, the heartland of the Bisaya community, tomorrow morning, and in the afternoon, he will be in Tuaran, where the Dusun of Lotod sub-ethnic group form the majority. Najib will be addressing the crowd on various issues and on top of the list will be illegal immigrants in the state.
The immigrant issue, which the Opposition and the two ex-Barisan members have been using to flog the Government, has somewhat been “diluted” when a Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up.
“The Prime Minister’s visit will bring about the feeling of inclusiveness in the people,” said Tamparuli assemblyman, Datuk Jahid Jahim.
“He has gone to other parts of Sabah and him coming to Tuaran will make the rakyat happy. To say there is no development in the area is untrue. We will be pushing for whatever development that the former Barisan MP did not help materialise,” said Jahid.
In Tuaran he will also launch the Nadi Kasih programme under 1Malaysia Development Berhad to repair houses belonging to the poor.