It has now become a trend where every time Najib comes to Sabah, Pakatan top leaders will also be around town at the same time.
KOTA KINABALU: If the number of Peninsular Malaysia VIPs heading to Sabah today is any indication, the state holds a major trump card going into the impending general election that has to be called by mid next year.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak arrives in the state today, but Pakatan Rakyat top guns are hot on his heels and they will also be here from this weekend until mid-September to put a damper on his party and raise the stakes on what Sabah leaders can demand in return for support.
As Najib touches down in Sandakan for a two-day visit, PAS president, Hadi Awang, is scheduled to grace Sabah’s Pakatan Rakyat Aidilfitri celebration at Sulaman Central not far from Kota Kinabalu.
Sabah Pakatan liaison chief, Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, when contacted, said Hadi is also scheduled to be at a Himpunan Hijau gathering in Beaufort, later this evening. Beaufort is supposedly the bastion of Lajim Ukin who left Umno recently to align himself with Pakatan.
According to Thamrin, Sabah Pakatan would also be holding a Malaysia Day Celebration on Sept 15 where PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim would be present to deliver a speech together with DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and other Pakatan leaders.
Though general election is not due until April next year, these Peninsular-based warlords had off late increasingly made Sabah their priority as the state, which has 25 parliamentarians out of a total 222, could well tilt the equation at the federal level after the election.
It has now become a trend where every time Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president, comes to Sabah, Pakatan top leaders would also be around town at the same time, grabbing attention from Sabahan electorates.
Karnival Rakyat Malaysia
Meanwhile, a FMT survey found out that giant billboards costing thousands of ringgit featuring pictures of Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have sprouted along the 75km-road from the state capital to Kota Belud where the couple are expected to attend a Hari Raya do on Sunday.
These signboards are to welcome the couple as well as urge people to turn up at the house of Parliament Speaker, Pandikar Amin Mulia, in Kampung Rampayan Laut, Kota Belud, where the Aidilfitri celebration would be held.
Banners of a last-minute programme called Karnival Rakyat Malaysia at the same time and venue in Kota Belud have also started to be erected in Kota Kinabalu, Inanam, Telipok, Tuaran and Kota Belud.
The banners urge the people to go to the venue where they would be entertained with shows and songs by artists from Kuala Lumpur and Sabah from 8am until 10.30pm.
An unsubstantiated report claimed that around RM5 million was being spent for the functions in Kota Belud alone based on logistic support and food and refreshments for the crowd of 20,000 or so the organisers are hoping to attract.
For the past few days, the vicinity in Rampayan Laut has already been in festive mood with people busily erecting camps and a stage as well as booths, upgrading roads, and transporting in tens of thousands of chairs for the anticipated crowd.