Government and politics

Najib gives Musa his firm support

<i>From left: Dr Yee Moh Chai, Musa Aman and Najib Razak</i>

Sabah makes the prime minister optimistic

By Nurhafizah Yusof, Joy Akang and Ng Jia Xiang
Pictures by Oliver Majaham and Victor Lo

<i>The crowd at Inanam</i>Prime Minister Najib Razak has every reason to be optimistic. More than 10,000 people joined him at a 1Malaysia dinner at the Padang Merdeka (independence field) on June 29 after he arrived in Kota Kinabalu for a two-day whirlwind visit. Thousands more people came to greet him in the Kemabong interior, home of the indigenous Muruts, Sipitang, kampung Likas and Inanam. “Wherever I go, the turnout is huge,” he said. “This is very encouraging. What I can tell from this is that the people of Sabah are strong supporters of Barisan Nasional (national front).”

<i>Liana Falisa Durahman</i>Najib has always been confident of Sabah’s support for his ruling 13-member coalition. So much so, he has labeled it his government’s “fixed deposit”. His recent visit has just underscored his confidence. And he dropped his strongest hint of an impending snap general election, saying his Sabah visit might be his last before he calls it. His government five-year term runs until March 2013.

Sabah, under Chief Minister Musa Aman, has done exceptionally well, according to Najib. The economy is booming with gdp hovering at about 4.6%, inflation is under 3% and unemployment hovers around 5%.

Slightly more than 57 billion ringgit ($19 billion) of investments in tourism, oil and gas and green technology have come to the resource-rich Borneo state since the Sabah Development Corridor was launched in 2008.

<i>Najib with his facebook fans</i>The highly acclaimed Oxford Business Group has just published its latest report on Sabah which has affirmed its economic achievement. What is startling is that the OBG says that Sabah will outgrow the 11 peninsular states in five years and drive Malaysia’s forecast gdp growth of between 6% and 10%.

It expects more direct foreign investment to flow into Sabah from countries grouping under the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the next five to ten years.

Najib says his government is determined to expand the economy by a yearly 6% to make Malaysia a high-income country within 10 years. “We can transform Malaysia into a developed country.”

The prime minister has given Musa his strongest support and made it clear that he has the utmost confidence in Musa’s leadership.

<i>From left: Tijah OT Bakar, Yahya and Najib</i>“I like to see Sabah as a dynamic and vibrant state,” Najib told the Sabah people. “I am convinced that Sabah can grow even bigger and stronger because of close cooperation between the federal and state governments.”

He cited an example of this cooperation: how Musa and his team went to see him in Kuala Lumpur to convince him to shelve the controversial 1.7-billion ringgit coal-fired power plant and how his government has given Sabah 2 billion ringgit more to spend on development – 5.8 billion ringgit against 3.8 billion ringgit last year.

But interacting with the people, young and old, is Najib’s hallmark. Getting to know them through frequent walkabouts is his trademark. And being internet savvy, he is fervent in getting to know young people personally through social networking sites. He has more than 760,000 facebook fans and 150,000 followers on twitter. In Kota Kinabalu he invited 100 facebook friends to a one-hour meeting.

“We can invite more but then it becomes impersonal,” he said.

<i>Christine Ching Li Fong</i>Housewife Liana Falisa Durahman, 32, has been the prime minister’s facebook fan for three years and an avid reader of his 1Malaysia blog. “I think this meeting is too short,” she said. “But it’s sweet.”

In Likas, Najib walked the path of his late father. As the deputy prime minister Razak Hussein visited the late Orang Tua Bakar, the village chief of kampung Likas in 1965, two years after Sabah joined Malaysia. Najib met Bakar’s only daughter Tijah and his son-in-law Yahya Asai.

“I was only 17, a technician,” Yahya said. “I remember the visit lasted one hour. The late Mustapha Harun (who was governor), the late Fuad Stephens (chief minister) and Gunsanad Sundang (deputy chief minister) accompanied Razak.”

The two-day visit has brought out Najib’s 1Malaysia unity policy.

“No matter what, we are united,” said Christine Ching Li Fong, 44, principal of Chung Hwa kindergarten. “We teachers teach our pupils that we are one people. This is 1Malaysia.”

Musa said 1Malaysia “is close to the Sabah people’s heart” and “I’m sure they will continue to support it to ensure that the country is peaceful and prosperous.” – Insight Sabah

Related stories:
Najib has Sabahans at heart
More than ever, Najib needs Musa Aman
Najib's clear support for Musa Aman
Najib's great Malaysian dream
Malaysia dumps 1.3-billion ringgit coal-fired plant

Posted on July 6, 2011

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