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Najib ‘last visit’ to Sabah sparks polls talks

By Luke Rintod of FMT
The prime minister has hinted that the 13th general
election is around the corner during a closed-down
meeting with BN leaders.
KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has indicated that this would be his “last visit” to Sabah and that snap elections could be held anytime between “now and early next year”.

Najib had apparently made this disclosure during a closed-door meeting with Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders here yesterday.

Insiders said Najib had indicated that the 13th general election, which is due in 2013, could be held anytime and urged BN component parties to settle issues raised by voters as soon as possible.

They said Najib had also touched on the issue of winnable candidates and the hands-on approach to problems.

Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who represented his Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) at the meeting, said Najib had mentioned that “this could be his last visit (to Sabah) before a snap election is held”.

“He said it may or it may not… next year is still possible and end of this year is still possible,” said Pairin.

Meanwhile, Sabah Umno liaison deputy head, Salleh Said, when contacted, said that Najib’s message at the meeting was simply “Be prepared and work hard”.

Najib was also reported to have told BN leaders here to set aside their differences and work hard to ensure Sabah remains a “fixed deposit” for BN.

All top leaders of Sabah BN component parties were present except for MCA chief (Edward Khoo) and LDP (VK Liew).

There has been talk within BN circles that PBS may get an increased number of seats in the coming election, most probably in areas previously held by the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) which left BN in 2008.

The plan has irked the leadership and supporters of LDP and MCA who believe they are being sidelined.

Vote-wooing speeches

Najib, who is here on a two-day visit, is expected to give vote-wooing speeches at functions in Tenom and Sipitang today.

SAPP vice-president Amde Sidik, who is from Sipitang, said Najib would open the Gasing and Tamu Besar also known as Gata, a biennial festival started in 2003.

This is the first ever visit by a prime minister to Sipitang and the famed “durian town” which is also the gateway to and from Sarawak and Brunei.

Najib is expected to officiate at the opening of a RM10-million esplanade which has been mired in controversy over shoddy workmanship and low quality materials.

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