BEAUFORT: Former prime minister Najib Razak believes Barisan Nasional’s victory at the Kimanis by-election tonight would mark a comeback by BN and Umno in Sabah.
He said the coalition and Umno had suffered badly after failing to retain power in Sabah after the 2018 general election. There had been a mass exodus of party leaders in December 2018 which led to Sabah PPBM being set up in April last year.
“This (poll victory) will breathe a new hope for Sabah Umno and Sabah BN… Many had written off BN as having no chance to rise again in Sabah. But today, it is the start of the return of Umno and BN again in the state,” he said after witnessing the party’s victory in the by-election.
BN candidate Mohamad Alamin of Sabah Umno became the new Kimanis MP, being elected with a comfortable majority of 2,029 votes against his rival, Karim Bujang of Warisan.
Najib said the BN victory was a sign that the rakyat had spoken out against the failings of the current government.
“I have said to the voters in Kimanis that they have a moral responsibility to speak on the country’s issues, not only in the context of Kimanis and Sabah, but also the nation.
Najib said two issues led to the Kimanis victory: Sabahans’ rejection of the Temporary Sabah Pass (PSS) for migrants, and a demand to resume work on the incomplete Pan Borneo Highway.
He said the highway project, linking Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan, was crucial to the socio-economic development of Sabahans.
The state government must respect the decision of the rakyat and voters in Kimanis, he said.
Najib was asked about his “Bossku” image and whether that had played a role in affecting the voters in Kimanis. He said Kimanis folk had reacted positively in contrast to the Sandakan by-election in May last year.
“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but Sandakan folk are different altogether compared to those in Kimanis. Here, everywhere I went, the support and reaction was positive,” said Najib.