KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says he is the Prime Minister from Barisan Nasional and any attacks against him would weaken the leadership of the coalition.
"I hope that all of us within Barisan will help give their support to the government in facing the challenges.
"If we attack the government, it means it is attacking the government under the leadership of Barisan because I am in the government representing Umno and Barisan," he said during a dinner in conjunction with the Sabah Barisan Convention here Friday (July 1).
"I am the Prime Minister of Barisan, not the Prime Minister of other parties. Attacking me will weaken Barisan," he said, calling on top leaders of the national and state Barisan to support him.
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He told the Barisan leaders and members that he needed their support to face many challenges faced by the country including tackling rising cost of prices that is affecting the well-being of Malaysians.
"The government is doing its best to avoid raising the cost of goods to ensure the people are not burdened. To date, more than RM70bil has been spent by the government to check on the rising cost of certain goods through subsidies," he added.
Ismail Sabri also said that even non-Barisan parties in the government like Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) were already starting to criticise the government as the general election was drawing close.
Ismail Sabri flew to Sabah to meet Sabah Barisan convention delegates tonight as he would not be able to attend the convention proper on Saturday (July 2).
He said that he had an official function with the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) who has invited him for the annual general meeting.
“MTUC was never really close to Barisan and previously under the influence of DAP. That is why I accepted the MTUC’s invitation and cannot come for the Sabah Barisan convention," he explained.
He said he had explained the reason for not turning up for the convention proper as there would be all sorts of speculations on the reasons for his absence.
"When I did not attend the Umno supreme council meeting, they said I was boycotting Umno even though I had already communicated to the Umno president that I could not attend because I was attending an international meeting with 17 heads of states and government leaders," he added.
Ismail Sabri said that he insisted on speaking for five minutes tonight to prevent talk that the Prime Minister was prohibited from speaking at the Sabah Barisan convention.
He said it was clear that outsiders were trying to undermine and divide Barisan through all sorts of untrue speculations and issues.
He urged all Barisan leaders and members to close ranks and unite to prepare for the elections that could be called sooner or later.
"We must focus on fighting our opponents who are our enemies. We must all work hard now and prepare for the polls," he said.
Also present at the dinner were Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and senior party leaders as well as Sabah Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.