Thursday, March 3, 2016

Najib’s problems won’t affect Sarawak polls, says state BN leader

Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders said they are thankful there is no Umno in the state to distract them from preparing for the upcoming elections. Senior Sarawak minister Tan Sri James Masing said the recent happenings in Umno would not have any implications on Sarawak, as the party is not represented in the state. "The leaders (Umno leaders) can come and help us during the elections, but what's happening in West Malaysia will not affect the voters in Sarawak. That's the advantage that we have here," the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president told reporters today, after receiving RM50,000 sponsorship from Sarawak Hidro for the upcoming Balleh-Kapit Safari. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the arch critic of prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, announced earlier this week that he was leaving Umno, claiming that the party he once led now only functions to protect Najib. Over the past year, Dr Mahathir has been critical of Najib's leadership, especially after The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported last July that US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) was channelled to the prime minister's private accounts. Last week, former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sacked from the Cabinet over his criticism against Najib, was suspended as Umno deputy president. Masing, who is also Land Development Minister, believed that the allegations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, like Umno politics, will not affect Sarawak voters. "It is a pity that he (Najib) faces a lot of problems on the other side, it is most unfortunate, but it will not affect us," he said. He anticipated that the opposition would use Najib's problem to influence Sarawak politics, but was confident that it would have minimal effect. He said people in Sarawak were actually grateful for Najib as he was the only prime minister who looked into the state's need to build the Pan Borneo Highway. Najib had announced an allocation of RM16 billion for the construction of the over 1,000km Pan Borneo Highway. Meanwhile, Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) deputy president Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg had reportedly said the state was not worried about Umno's issues and must not be dragged into Umno's political problems. He said that Sarawak BN was politically independent of what was happening in the peninsula, because there's no Umno chapter in the state. He said it is better for Umno to solve its own problems without involving other BN component parties, adding that it should not be at the expense of the country's stability. – March 3, 2016.]]>

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