Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak declared today that "Sabah is solidly behind BN" and that Anwar Ibrahim had spun the 'biggest lie' when he said he would takeover Putrajaya way back in September 2008.
He said the federal government had approved a loan of RM235 million to the state to build a water treatment plant and pipelines totaling over 52km which would benefit about 200,539 people in the interior.
He said he had to do something as Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the MP for Keningau, had for the past few months been repeatedly raised the matter with him.
“Every time we meet … on the helicopter, he will always raise the water supply problem faced by the people in the interior. So I said just wait till I come to visit Keningau … I didn’t come here empty handed,” he said.
Speaking at the official opening of the RM30 million Sabah Handicraft Centre about 6km from town here Saturday, Najib said he had discussed the matter with the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and decided to approve the loan grant.
According to him, the design of the project had been completed and work should commence soon, which is expected to be completed within 35 months.
“This is an example of the Barisan Nasional (BN) decision-making that benefits all the people,” he said.
“The opposition did Bersih 1, Bersih 2, Bersih 3 but we (the BN government) do BR1M 1, BR1M 2, BR1M 3,” he said to loud applause from nearly 20,000 people that came for the official opening of the Sabah Handicraft Centre.
‘BN not playing games’
The Prime Minister also said that Opposition leader (Anwar Ibrahim) had committed the “biggest lie in Malaysian political history” by declaring that he would take over the government on Sept 16, 2008 because 30 MPs from the BN would switch allegiance to the opposition.
“This does not include the video tape case and many more that we can mention but suffice to say that it is down to the leadership virtue of the leaders,” he said.
Najib said Anwar was making various accusations against the BN government but “try to look back to the financial crisis in 1997, it was him as the Finance Minister then who wanted to hand over Malaysia to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (by borrowing money),” he said.
“Who was the one who made a huge cut in the allocation? I know because I was sitting in the Cabinet at that time.
“Fortunately (the then Prime Minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad rejected Anwar’s plan,” he said, adding that anybody could become the Finance Minister if the job only involved putting a signature on everything.
Najib also said the BN government was not playing the game of selling promises to the people when election is near.
“I think the people of Sabah can assess these sort of leaders who only come out when election is looming and make all kinds of promises,” he said.
‘We have a solid and clear planning’
The BN government, according to him, wanted to uphold social justice in the country as soon as possible and not because of election is coming.
The opening of the huge handicraft complex in the heart of the interior, he said was an example of a strong cooperation between the State and Federal Government.
“It shows that if there is a strong cooperation between the State and Federal governments we can churn out even a big amount cost for the future of the people in Sabah,” he said.
The Sabah Handicraft Centre is built and funded by the State Government through Yayasan Sabah while the Federal Government had allocated another RM20 million for the programmes and courses including its facility and equipment at the centre.
“We believe the people of Sabah have high creativity value that can be further expanded to a higher level … we don’t want it to be stuck just at the kampung level.
“For this reason, we have a solid and clear planning. We are in the process of creating transformation be it in the rural or urban areas,” he said.
Najib also expressed his gladness at the warm welcome by the people for him and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
“Perhaps, it will not be wrong for me to say that Sabah is solidly behind BN,” he said.
He was confident that Sabah as the fixed deposit would remain in BN’s bank and hoped that everybody would continue to be united.
“The election is about the future therefore, only the BN can ensure a brighter future for our future generations,” he said.
‘BN not giving lip service’
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Musa Aman said the opening of the handicraft centre marked another historical milestone for Sabah.
“The Sabah Handicraft Centre is not only for the benefit of the people in the Interior but for the whole people of Malaysia,” he said, adding that he believed initiatives like the government’s Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and transformation programmes by the Prime Minister would be able to change the livelihood of the people to be in line with the national development mainstream.
Towards this end, Musa said it also proved that the BN was not giving lip service or going down to the ground seasonally and making empty promises.
Instead, he said government leaders especially the Prime Minister had always been going to the ground to implement development agenda and projects for the people.
“We dare to go down to the ground because we are leaders and a government who have done our work and always serving the people unlike the opposition,” he said.
He said that with commitment of Federal leaders particularly the Prime Minister and sincerity of the BN leaders, cooperation and support from all level of the public service as well as people, the state government would be able to further develop the rural interior of Sabah.