KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) has once against come out in defence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak against the latest attack from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a statement, PRS president Tan Sri James Masing called Najib, “the only (Prime Minister) who really cares for Sarawak and Sabah’s well-being”.
Masing said previous prime ministers – specifically naming Mahathir – “couldn’t care less” about the two Malaysian states in Borneo.
First, he said, Najib recognised Sept 16 as Malaysia Day, marking the formation of the country. “A date that is so dear” to Sarawakians and Sabahans, he said.
“Second, Najib has allocated funds for the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway, while the other past PMs, including Mahathir, couldn’t care less,” Masing said.
“Under the previous PMs, highways were built in Malaya, (and other) mega projects like the Petronas Twin Towers, two Penang bridges, and a proposal for a crooked bridge between Johor and Singapore, not to mention lots of schools and hospitals.
“Rural areas of Sarawak and Sabah were ignored... the prime ministers before were Malayan centric.”
Masing claimed the east Malaysian states “cannot afford” not to support Najib.
“I’m confident Barisan Nasional with Najib as PM will continue to administer Malaysia after the 14th general election. It would be much easier if Umno remains united, for a house divided is harder to defend.
“Don’t divide it! Don’t wreck it!” he said.
Masing thanked Najib for recognising that there would be no Malaysia without Sarawak and Sabah.
Masing’s statement came hours after Mahathir posted on his blog calling Umno members not to be blind followers.
Mahathir claimed Najib had failed to address accusation against him and had lost public confidence.
On March 17, Masing also issued a statement defending Najib. Then – also responding to attacks from Mahathir – Masing wrote: “Mahathir was given 22 years to administer Malaysia and he did an excellent job despite criticisms against his administration. Please give Najib the time to prove his worth. Don’t interfere prematurely.”
Notably, Najib seems to have stepped up his attempts to shore up support from Sarawak – if the frequency of his visits is anything to go by.
On Feb 27, Najib visited the rural town of Sri Aman where he launched the construction of a hospital.
On March 31, he returned – visiting Bintulu, and surrounding rural areas including a Dayak longhouse where Masing was among officials to greet him – to launch an early phase of the Pan Borneo Highway.
At a longhouse, Najib told the audience: “Thank you, I want to say, for the strong support from Sarawak Barisan to me as announced by your Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
“I am thankful for all the support. It allows me to carry out duties as the leader of the government with full confidence that there is people’s support from all corners of the country.”
Although Barisan officials in Sarawak have not confirmed it, talk is that Najib will come to Sarawak again in May, which has led to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting being brought forward by two weeks.
After that, Najib could return in June for Gawai Dayak celebrations, while he himself confirmed he would be at Sematan, which is Adenan’s constituency, in September to launch another phase of the Pan Borneo Highway.