SANDAKAN: As campaigning enters its 10th day, locals who refer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak as “bossku” are now asking for the former prime minister’s presence in Sandakan.
Checks by The Star found that Najib had a following among Sabahans here with several of them urging “Datuk Najib, malu apa bossku, datanglah Sandakan (What’s the shame my boss? Come to Sandakan!)”.
The term “bossku” originated from Sabah, where it is used by locals to informally address their friends and acquaintances.
Fitri Sofya, 25, said she would be excited should Najib make an appearance in Sandakan, adding that she respected the Pekan MP as a leader who had contributed much to Sabah.
“I want to take selfies with him. I always see him on TV. He brought about the Pan-Borneo Highway project and also the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (now Bantuan Sara Hidup) for singles.
“I will certainly be happy if he comes.”
Rosli Hussin, 24, said : “I like the term ‘bossku’. I would like to take pictures and shake his hands. He has given a lot to Sabah.”
There were even people who told The Star that they did not believe in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal that Najib was embroiled in, regarding it as a political tool.
Najib is currently facing the SRC International corruption trial, which is expected to continue until May 10.
His 1MDB hearing, on the other hand, was postponed to Aug 19.
“It was politicised and I don’t believe it. Those were just accusations. No action has been taken against him yet,” said 34-year-old Badrul Hisyam, who works as a security guard.
Dr Ernal Daming, 30, however, has a different opinion, saying that even if Najib were to come to Sandakan, there was not much he could do for the town.
“But anyone can use that word. It doesn’t matter who he is,” she added.
Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan believes that if Najib were to be in town for the Sandakan by-election, he would be able to remind people about the development brought by Barisan Nasional.
“Everybody can make their own conclusion. But I think it’s good if he comes down to campaign for Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). For one, PBS was a friend to him even though PBS is no longer in Barisan.
“Second, it is right to come and explain government policies and what he (Najib) did in Sandakan. People want to hear about this. It will help them decide which party to vote for in the by-election.”
However, the Tuaran Umno chief said the prospects of Najib’s presence in Sandakan would depend on his packed schedule.
“He is occupied with his own things, too, so I am not sure. But as of now, I haven’t got information,” he added.
The sole Umno MP in Sabah, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, said initial plans for Najib to come to Sandakan yesterday were cancelled due to a conflicting schedule.
“The plan earlier was for him to come on Sunday. But ‘bossku’ has another important event in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, so it was cancelled.”
Asked if Najib would still make an appearance in Sandakan at another date, he answered: “I’m not so sure.”
On May 2, Najib had said at the Kuala Lumpur court complex that his presence in Sandakan would depend on whether there was a demand.
“Are they asking me to go there?” he had asked.
Since the use of “bossku” started, Barisan had won three by-elections, in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau.