KOTA KINABALU: There were none of his usual rough edges as Barisan Nasional’s Sabah chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (pic) campaigned across the state.
Known for his boisterous antics and sometimes crude remarks as a Barisan backbencher in Parliament, Bung Moktar instead went on a charm offensive.
The 62-year-old Kinabatangan MP, who is contesting for the new Lamag state seat come Sept 26, was frank in his speeches and remained focused on the issues against the Warisan Plus government led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He hopped on helicopter rides to Sabah’s south western Beaufort and Sipitang before heading to interior Pensiangan and Tenom to shore up support for Barisan candidates.
At all venues, he kept his speeches brief and straight to the point while outlining the main opposition bloc Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s (GRS) plans for Sabah under the Aku Janji pledge.
For many who observed him during the campaign trail, Bung Moktar seemed to show different sides with a clear direction for his vision for Sabah in his campaign speeches.
Bung Moktar, who has faced strong internal and external challenges since he took over the leadership of Sabah Umno and Sabah Barisan, showed little signs of taking on his enemies from within publicly.He has fielded nearly 90% new faces for the 32 seats Umno is contesting and received a warm welcome from the youth during his pit stops. They were excited to meet him for the first time.
Some of them also teased him about his Parliament antics, interjecting his speeches with “I drink blood” and “Do you speak English?”, referring to video clips that highlighted his unsavoury choice of words in Parliament over the years.
“He is a funny guy. We say these things because they were mentioned and asked in Parliament, ” said a supporter in Tulid.
Keeping a tight schedule and stopping over for a ceramah for 40 minutes at most, Bung Moktar drew interest from rural folk who sometimes lined roads and homes to catch a glimpse of him.
The veteran politician, who took over leadership of Sabah Barisan from former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, has big shoes to fill and prove himself worthy to be Sabah’s next chief minister should GRS win.
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